Hardwick served in the Army and was based out of Bien Hoa, Vietnam, for 11 months. His experiences there were incorporated into his novel, March of the Skeleton Men.
When Harry Hardwick came home from Vietnam 33 years ago – following an 11-month tour of duty in the Army – he had no one to talk to. No one wanted to hear about the war. Now, after years of keeping everything inside, Hardwick has released some of his memories in a novel, March of the Skeleton Men.
“My experiences over there, I’ve pretty much kept to myself. [Writing this book] has helped me more than anything to get over it,” says Hardwick, 54, an over-the-road company driver for Volunteer Express.
Hardwick, a resident of Jackson, Tenn., has written stories since he was a child but had never tried to write a novel before. Ironically, the chance came when he fell in his truck and ruptured three disks in his back. He had three surgeries to repair the injury, two in 1991 and another in 1992, and his doctor advised him to find another profession.
“Maybe it was just my hard-headedness, but I knew I’d get back [to trucking],” Hardwick says.
Today, Hardwick is back on the road. He often takes his Pomeranian, Roxanne, in his truck with him.
He took three years off to recuperate and began writing. The 280-page book tells the story of five POWs in Vietnam, one Australian and four American soldiers who grew up in different places but are thrust together by the war. The book follows the soldiers from the day they are drafted until they escape from their captors.
“I’m still a firm believer that there may still be American GIs over there,” Hardwick says. “Pick a war – there’s a lot of GIs that they don’t know what happened to. This one just happened to be my passion.”
Hardwick is currently writing a sequel to the book. “I’ve been accused of ending it like Hitchcock, leaving it up in the air. That prompted me to write about them when they got home,” Hardwick says.
The sequel is due this fall, but since Hardwick has started trucking again, he doesn’t have much time to write.
“He’s home most weekends, maybe one or two nights a week, so it’s taking a long time to write the sequel,” says his wife, Pat.