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Following the military career path of his grandfather and father and with the strong desire to help others, U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Second Class (PO2) Michael Hard joined the military in October 2005 as a port security specialist after working in juvenile probation with the Butte County Probation Department in California since 2002. Hard quickly advanced from a rifleman to a fire-team leader and then a squad leader within his first few years of service.
In April 2006, Hard deployed to Joint Task Force Guantanamo in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. While there, he conducted anti-terrorism force protection and detainee movement operations. In November 2009, Hard fulfilled his second deployment in Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom. During this time, he traveled to Ash Shuaiba, Kuwait and Basra, Iraq to conduct anti-terrorism force protection, provide personal security, board vessels in the Northern Arabian Gulf, train Iraqi forces, and provide point defense for their oil infrastructure. Hard returned to the states in September 2010 and completed a third and final deployment to Baghdad, Iraq shortly thereafter.
Hard was honorably discharged from the military in 2013. As a result of his strenuous physical activity while in the service, Hard received several injuries including left knee traumatic arthropathy, spinal stenosis, a bulging disk, tinnitus and primary insomnia. He currently attends after-war group therapy weekly and is awaiting further medical treatment with the VA to improve his condition.
For his bravery and honorable service, Hard received various awards including a Good Conduct Meritorious Unit Commendation and an Operation Iraqi Freedom Campaign Medal. Currently living in Elk Grove, California, Hard makes every effort to continue to help others by volunteering his time and effort to fundraising for his church, supporting the Veteran of Foreign Wars, and assisting in other veteran activities. Thanks to PulteGroup and their Built to Honor program, Michael Hard moved into a home to call his own in December, 2014.