Days after the fall of the Afghani government, the runway at Kabul International Airport was littered with trash and indications of bloodshed. The United States and its allies were scattered over the airport to maintain security as the remaining soldiers returned home.
A U-28A Draco crew from Hurlburt Field, Florida, circled above the airport while sending information about the situation on the ground to friendly troops.
Hardman and his crew shifted their attention to working with ground troops to clear the area surrounding the downed Draco as their aircraft ran out of fuel. Hardman prepared the plane to land on a taxiway with fewer impediments, he discovered a gap in the crowd of people on the runway.
Hardman was awarded the Aviator Valor Award for his excellent efforts in ensuring the safety of his squad. The medal, which is sponsored by the American Legion, is given to a commissioned Air Force officer for a valorous or courageous deed committed during aerial flight.