Kentucky mourns loss of Air Guard founder
From the Lexington Herald-Leader
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Kentucky National Guard mourns the lost of one if its most innovative Airmen. Maj. Gen. Philip Pendleton Ardery died July 26 at his home in Louisville, at the age of 98.
“The Kentucky Air National Guard has long history of excellence, and that is no accident,” said Maj. Gen. Edward W. Tonini, Adjutant General for Kentucky. ”Phillip Ardery was a true Renaissance man, a combat veteran of World War II, a lawyer, citizen soldier, author and humanitarian. He set a standard that continues to challenge us today. General Ardery has been the inspiration to 123d leadership for the entire history of the Wing.”
“Thanks to his vision and drive, the Kentucky Air National Guard is a major player in the defense of our nation and the safety and security of the commonwealth of Kentucky.”
He was born March 6, 1914, in Lexington, KY, son of William Breckenridge and Julia Hoge Spencer Ardery. He grew up on a farm between Paris and Lexington, and the people, plants, and animals of Bourbon County left deep impressions on him, which he loved recounting. His writings about some of them appeared in Heroes and Horses, a collection of essays published by the University Press of Kentucky in 1996.
He attended the Paris city schools and went on to the University of Kentucky, where he studied English literature and graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1935. Ardery attended law school at Harvard, graduating in 1938, and was admitted to the Kentucky Bar that year.
Although he had joined the U.S. Infantry Reserve in 1935, in 1940 Ardery enlisted in the Army Air Corps as a private. He graduated 1st Captain of the Flying Cadet Corps from Kelly Field in San Antonio, TX, in April 1941 and was assigned to serve as a flight instructor at Goodfellow Field in San Angelo, Texas. There, he met his bride-to-be, Anne Stuyvesant Tweedy, at a dance. They were married at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in San Angelo December 6, 1941, the day before Pearl Harbor was bombed.
Capt. Ardery commanded the 564th Bomb Squadron (H) beginning in February 1943, joining the 389th Bomb Group (H) based in Norwich, England, that June. From outposts in North Africa, he flew B-24s on many missions across the Mediterranean, including the first low-level raid on oil refineries at Ploesti, Romania, for which he earned the Silver Star.
From England and North Africa, he flew raids over Vegesack, Bayeux, Solingen, and Oslo during the winter of 1943-44, leading up to the invasion of Normandy. He led the 2nd Combat Bomb Wing on the first daylight bombing of Berlin in March 1944 and flew on the first mission of D-Day, June 6, 1944.
His memoir of the war, Bomber Pilot, was published in 1978.
Discharged from active duty in 1945, Ardery was named two years later to command the 123rd Fighter Wing of the newly formed Kentucky Air National Guard.
Called to active duty during the Korean War, Ardery and the 123rd relocated to England, where he served as wing-base commander of the NATO Air Force, RAF Station, in Manston, 1951-52.
After deactivation, he continued to command the 123rd, which at times included air groups in other states as well as Kentucky’s group based at Louisville’s Standiford Field.
Ardery was promoted to Brigadier General in April 1962 and retired from the military as a Major General in 1965.
His long life was the daily occupation of Anne Tweedy Ardery, his wife and friend for almost 71 years. He is survived by Anne, son Philip Pendleton Ardery, Jr. and his wife Cecilia Palacio Ardery, son Joseph Lord Tweedy Ardery and his wife Anne Lenihan Ardery, all of Louisville, and daughter Julia Spencer Ardery and her husband, William Allen Bishop, of Austin, Texas.
Ardery was buried at Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, July 30.
Obituary published in the Lexington Herald-Leader on July 29, 2012