CPL Fardy ’40 Medal of Honor 8/2011

CPL Fardy ’40 Medal of Honor 8/2011

Slideshow by Pat Brunner


John P. Fardy graduated from Leo High School in 1940.  Like many young men in that era he soon found himself in a Marine Corps uniform fighting for his Country in the Pacific Ocean.  A member of the First Marine Division, Cpl. Fardy was already a veteran of two earlier Pacific invasions.  On May 6, 1945, Squad Leader Fardy was involved in the campaign to capture Okinawa when he was mortally wounded.  He received the Medal of Honor posthumously.  The citation reads in part:  “Corporal Fardy temporarily deployed his men along a near-by drainage ditch. Shortly thereafter, an enemy grenade fell among the Marines in the ditch. Instantly throwing himself upon the deadly missile, Corporal Fardy absorbed the exploding blast in his own body, thereby protecting his comrades from certain and perhaps fatal injuries.”

Recently, researcher and author, Dr. Terence Barrett, was finishing a book about Marine Corps Medal of Honor recipients in World War II.  Cpl. Fardy will have a chapter devoted to his actions.  In talking to Leo’s Pat Hickey, Dr. Barrett mentioned that Fardy’s headstone gives no indication of Cpl. Fardy’s courage and sacrifice.  There is simply no mention at the grave that Cpl. Fardy received the Medal of Honor.  

Three great Leo men immediately stepped forward to help out.  Mark Lee from the Class of 1985, Mike Holmes from the Class of 1976 and Jim Furlong from the Class of 1965.  This committee, along with a grant from the Alumni Board of Directors, is rectifying the situation by having the Medal of Honor Badge engraved along with text saying “Medal of Honor” on Cpl. Fardy’s headstone.

At 10:00 a.m. on Monday, August 8, 2011; the Leo High School Family, students and alumni, will gather with descendants of Cpl. John Fardy.  This will include John Martin, Class of 1967 who is Cpl. Fardy’s namesake and nephew.  This re-dedication of the headstone will take place at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery and an Honor Guard from the 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Division based in Chicago will render a 21-gun salute and perform a flag folding ceremony.  The committee is working with the Congressional Medal of Honor Society to have a Medal of Honor recipient be the keynote speaker.
All Leo Men and their families are invited to attend.
Cpl. Fardy is a heroic example of the Leo tradition, the Leo Motto–FACTA NON VERBA.


  1. “They say a picture says a thousand words. When you open this photo you will see Cpl. Fardy’s two nephews and neice just beaming with pride while they are accepting the US Flag from the Marine.

    Thanks again for everyone’s help and being there to honor this great Leo grad and Medal of Honor recipient Cpl. John P. Fardy.”


  2. “What an audience and outpouring of support. It was truly touching. We heard a lot of great stories today and I am sure in the coming days and weeks, we will hear a lot more.

    One statement that I will truly hold dear to my heart, is from my wife. She stated, “What a proud day to be an American and also to be married to an alumni of Leo.” I don’t think I could have said it better myself.

    We live our credo every day, and today was another example.”


  3. “Rachel and I were safely home last night after a pleasant 10-hour drive – plenty of time to recap our weekend. What a super day at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery! I heard nothing but good comments from those who attended, and lots of pride. So, thank you for all you did to bring together a very impressive rededication. I know the Martin and Thometz family members were intensely touched by the Leo and Veterans presence. It was my hope that Cpl. Fardy’s family would realize that John had not been forgotten and that his valor was their legacy. I know meeting them personally had heart and meaning for me.

    It was a genuine pleasure to meet each of you during the ceremony. I can see there is much to cherish among the long-held Leo traditions. Having been taught by Brothers at a Catholic High School in Cleveland, I can appreciate the pride you have in your school.

    Our only regrets over the entire weekend were that a Medal recipient was not present to speak to those who were, and that we did not have enough time to spend with you. Perhaps another time… Best regards, and Semper Fidelis to all of you.”


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