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Transitions: Marine’s third star thought to be first for county
By Charles Swenson
He was happy to make major. “Everything beyond that was gravy,” he said.
Now Maj. Gen. H. Stacy Clardy III has been nominated by the secretary of defense to receive his third star and a new assignment with the Department of Defense. He is believed to be the first Georgetown County native to become a lieutenant general.
Clardy grew up in Georgetown and Pawleys Island. He was commissioned in the Marine Corps in 1983 after graduating from the University of South Carolina. He is the son of Stacy Clardy Jr. and the late Margaret Ball Clardy. His father, who lives on Pawleys Island, is a retired Navy captain. His grandfather was the county’s probate judge.
“I think he’s the only one to get three stars,” his father said.
“I believe he’s right,” said Paige Sawyer, a local historian who checked his records. He found three county men who became brigadier generals: one during the Civil War and two during World War II.
Maj. Gen. Clardy serves as the deputy director for force management, application and support on the Joint Staff.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis nominated him for promotion and assignment as military deputy for readiness to the undersecretary for defense for personnel and readiness.
“I didn’t think I’d be this long in the military,” Clardy, 56, said. “I have no ambition beyond serving my country.”
But he added that his actual ambition is to get back to Pawleys. He was on the road this week from Columbia, where two daughters are enrolled at the University of South Carolina. He won’t be staying for the Fourth of July. He has to be available for the Senate confirmation. “I would like to wish everyone a happy Fourth,” he said.
The challenge of military life – the regular moves and changing assignments – is also what makes it interesting. “The reason I stayed was I’m very much proud of the fact that I’m able to serve with men and women who love their country,” Clardy said.
He calls himself “a Marine infantryman.” He commanded the 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and the 2nd Marine Regiment and Regimental Combat Team 2 during Iraqi Freedom.
He was promoted to brigadier general in 2009 and took command of the Marine Corps’ largest base, the Air Ground Task Force Training Command at Twentynine Palms, Calif. He also served as commanding general of the 3rd Marine Division.
He was promoted to major general in 2013.
After his return from Iraq in 2003, Clardy had another leadership role: as grand marshal of the Pawleys Island Fourth of July Parade. “I’m proud to be from Pawleys Island,” he said.