Colonel (US Army, Ret.) Hardies was born in Belgium during the German occupation in World War II. He immigrated to the United States in the 1950s and grew up in Clifton, NJ. He graduated from Rutgers College in 1966, having studied economics and earned his commission in the US Army's Armor Branch through the ROTC. Colonel Hardies' 33-year military career began with postings to command armor and armored cavalry units at Fort Riley, KS and in Vietnam, where he served with C Troop, 3/4th Cav (Third Squadron, Fourth Cavalry Regiment), 25th Infantry Division. He later commanded units in Germany and Korea and served an instructor and administrator at the US Army Air Defense School at Fort Bliss, TX. From 1981 to his retirement in 1999, he served in the NJ Army National Guard.