Merritt Island’s 106-Year-Old Armand William Pardy Fought in World War II, Korea and Vietnam
By Maria Sonnenberg // October 16, 2018
AMONG OLDEST LIVING WORLD WAR II VETERANS, always in the thick of conflict as combat soldier
BREVARD COUNTY • MERRITT ISLAND, FLORIDA – Some men excel at art, and others in science, or politics or business. Armand William Pardy excels at living.
Unlike the celebrities and personalities that define our society, Pardy has never sought or gained the limelight.
However, at 106 years of age and with failing health, he can look back at a long and honorable life primarily spent serving his country, not behind the safety of a desk job, but usually in the thick of conflict as a combat soldier.
“He was always a boots-on-the-ground soldier,” said his daughter, Karen Pardy.
The Titanic had sunk just four months before Armand made his first appearance on earth on Aug. 26, 1912, in Utica, New York. The world was indeed very different.
He was alive but too young to fight in World War I, but Pardy more than made up for his absence by fighting in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam, all at the front lines, before he retired as a command sergeant major in 1972.
“He was in combat in all three conflicts,” said his daughter.
His service as a paratrooper in the Army during WWII was impeccable.
“He jumped on D-Day and also served in Northern Africa,” said Karen.
After the war, he left the military for six months before re-enlisting and making a career of the Army, serving in both the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions.
He excelled at his job, given the fact that the Armed Forces awarded him three Purple Hearts for injuries received while serving, a Silver Star for gallantry in action against the enemy and several Bronze Stars for heroic and meritorious service in a combat zone.
In 1946, at a USO dance in Ft. Mead, Maryland, he met the love of his life, Millie, who was by his side until she passed away in 2014 at age 94.
“They were married for 68 years,” said Karen, who attributes her mother’s decline in part to a serious car accident her parents experienced in 2010.
Armand himself suffered a broken sternum, but in typical fashion was able to bounce back. It wasn’t until he was 103 that Armand abandoned his independence and left his home in Orlando to move in with his daughter in Merritt Island, but only after he fell, hitting his head.
“He is very independent,” said his daughter. “He was riding his bike at 99 and he drove until he was 102. He still talks about his car.”
Talk is becoming scarcer for Armand these days. While there is physically still nothing wrong with him, he is in a definite decline.
“I didn’t think he would make it to his birthday this year, but he still has his mental capacity,” said Karen. “He rallies and has moments when he is back to his former self, but the periods of unresponsiveness are increasing.”
Hospice is helping him write the last chapter of a long life well lived, but Armand was never a big proponent of relying on medical assistance.
“He still doesn’t need to take any medications, but his body is just wearing out,” explained Karen. “He is just old. It is not easy to watch him slip away.”
After he left the Army, Armand didn’t call quits to working, but instead signed up to help at an executive airport in Orlando.
“He never really retired, and always stayed active,” said Karen.
He chose the City Beautiful because old Army buddies lived there. He had seen his share of the world, since during his military career he was stationed around the globe, anywhere from Germany and Korea to Virginia and Hawaii.
“My dad really liked Hawaii, but thought it was too far away to move to and Florida was similar,” said Karen, who as the “caboose” in a family of four, was born in Germany.
Life gave him an excellent set of genes that unfortunately his seven siblings did not receive.
“None of them lived anywhere as long as he has, and his parents did not live that long, either,” said Karen.
Does he attribute his longevity to a holistic doctrine or a vegetarian lifestyle? No. Though he has a fondness for sugar, he kept the weakness in check, and he was never a fan of strict diets.
Crossword puzzles kept his gray cells sharp as did playing the ukulele. Plenty of golf and calisthenics kept his body trim.
“He really believed in exercise and was never overweight,” said Karen. “For many years, he exercised every single day of life.”
It was when he stopped exercising that Karen realized he was finally slowing down.
“Up to last year at this time, he was still walking,” she said. “I would exercise with him all the time, but one day, he just didn’t want to do it anymore.”
Karen Pardy appreciates every day she spends with the remarkable man who is her father.
“It is a blessing,” she said.
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