BÖBLINGEN, Germany – The year was 1968, and thousands of young men were being drafted into the Army and sent overseas. Haze Hardy, Jr. was one of those men.
When Hardy left his home in South Carolina and arrived at his first duty station at Panzer Kaserne in Böblingen, never would he have imagined that nearly 55 years later he’d still be here.
But that’s exactly what happened. He’s still here.
The lead food service specialist with Logistics Readiness Center Stuttgart met his wife during that first tour of duty. She was a local German girl, and Hardy was smitten. He didn’t stay a Soldier for long, but he stayed with her and stayed in Germany. In fact, he’s quick to point out exactly how long he served as an active-duty Soldier – two years, 11 months, 26 days and 4 hours, he said.
The 73-year-old Originals Café employee started out with the Army’s club system after his enlisted time. His first of two quarter centuries in the food service business was with Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation. Hardy was working at the Stuttgart Golf Course in Kornwestheim before taking a chef position at the officer’s club on Patch Barracks, which closed many years ago.
In fact, long before his current organization was even called LRC Stuttgart, Hardy worked in food service for the Directorate of Logistics, 6th Area Support Group. Eventually, 6th ASG would become U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart and DOL would become LRC Stuttgart, 405th Army Field Support Brigade.
So much has happened and so much has changed for Hardy over the past five and half decades serving the Stuttgart community, but one thing has remained constant – his passion for cooking.
“When I entered the military, they didn’t let me cook because when you’re drafted you don’t get any choices, said Hardy, who served as a medic and enlisted Soldier. “When I got out (of the Army), I started cooking. Ever since, I’m cooking, always cooking. I love to cook.”
Cooking is one of three constants in Hardy’s life, he said. He’s been married to his wife, Susanna, for 47 years. He’s been cooking for the USAG Stuttgart community for 51 years, and he’s been living in Germany for almost 55 years.
“When I came here at the age of 18, at that time we had 70,000 Soldiers in the Stuttgart area,” he said. “A lot has changed over the last half a century, but I still love it here.”
“Where I grew up, it was a little dangerous,” said the native of Anderson, South Carolina. “I don’t like guns, and I don’t like violence, and this place is always nice and quiet. Nobody messes with you. The police don’t mess with you. It’s peaceful.”
“I love Germany. Germany is a beautiful country, and Europe is a beautiful place. But you really don’t need to go far. You don’t have to go all over Europe. You can see amazing things, beautiful things, right outside your front door,” said Hardy.
Besides enjoying life in Germany, being married to his wife, and working as a food service specialist, the father of two, grandfather of four, and great-grandfather of four more said he likes the support he receives from LRC Stuttgart.
“I like working for the LRC. My supervisors are always nice,” Hardy said. “But they’re over there in the White House, and we’re over here getting the work done, day in and day out – blue collar.”
Sebastian Mann, who works with Hardy at the Originals Café, said Hardy and the entire LRC Stuttgart team do a great job and are very important to the USAG Stuttgart community.
“LRC Stuttgart reaches across the community from one side to the other. I’ve seen firsthand how LRC Stuttgart supports this community, and it’s amazing,” Mann said.
LRC Stuttgart is one of eight LRCs under the command and control of the 405th AFSB. LRCs execute installation logistics support and services to include supply, maintenance, and transportation as well as clothing issue facility operations, hazardous material management, personal property and household goods, passenger travel, non-tactical vehicle and garrison equipment management, and property book operations. When it comes to providing day-to-day installation services, LRC Stuttgart directs, manages, and coordinates a variety of operations and activities in support of USAG Stuttgart.
LRC Stuttgart reports to the 405th AFSB, which is assigned to U.S. Army Sustainment Command and under the operational control of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Europe and Africa. The brigade is headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and provides materiel enterprise support to U.S. Forces throughout Europe and Africa – providing theater sustainment logistics; synchronizing acquisition, logistics and technology; and leveraging U.S. Army Materiel Command’s materiel enterprise to support joint forces. For more information on the 405th AFSB, visit the official website and the official Facebook site.