Today, the FBI remembers Special Agent Robert R. Hardesty (1965 – 2005), who died on June 2, 2005, as a result of an accident during SWAT training at the FBI Academy on May 25, 2005 in Quantico, Virginia.
Special Agent Hardesty, 40, was assigned to the Springfield FBI Office at the time of his death and was a member of that office’s SWAT team.
Robert S. Mueller, III, Director Federal Bureau of Investigation, spoke at the funeral service for Robert R. Hardesty, of Portage, Indiana on June 08, 2005.
“We have come together today to honor Rob Hardesty: the Rob Hardesty you have known over many years and whom I have come to know over the past two weeks.
I have come to know Rob Hardesty by learning about his life–for his is a life story of service. Service to his family. Service to the Porter County Sheriff’s Office. Service to the FBI. Service to his country. Service to his Lord.
I also came to know Rob Hardesty personally; but only for a few moments. It was a day or so after the accident. Rob was in bed and unable to move. I told him he had one of the best Marine Corps haircuts I had seen in a while. And his entire face lit up. He smiled. And that smile gave me a glimpse of his vitality, his passion. I learned from that smile what all of you know so well.
I also came to understand Rob through his family, who I have come to know and respect over the last two weeks. You can learn a great deal about a person from knowing his family, and particularly the person he chooses to marry. Hardened, grizzled veterans of the FBI–veterans of HRT, SWAT–stand in awe of Toni–stand in awe of her strength and the strength of Rob’s family.
In a very short time I came to know Rob Hardesty–know him as an FBI agent; know him as a husband and father; and know him as a servant.
We look up to persons such as Rob, whose life work is service. We hold them up as examples. They earn our deepest admiration and respect because of the actions they purposefully take…in the name of service.
They are the ones who say, yes, I am ready without knowing when. Who say, yes, I will go, without knowing where. Who say, yes, I do, without always knowing why.
It is the rare quality of those who go forward without looking back and without asking what price, who show us the true meaning of courage, of devotion, and of sacrifice. It is the legacy Rob leaves us that his was a life lived to the full measure of those ideals.
We thank God for holding Robert Hardesty in His hands and we ask Him to look after Rob with great care, for he was truly the very best of the best. Each of us will carry Rob in our hearts, until that time when we meet again and come to be close to him once more. May God bless you, and may God bless Rob Hardesty.”
Prior to joining the FBI three-and-a-half years earlier, he served in the Porter County, Indiana Sheriff’s Department. In his honor, the Springfield FBI Office now bears his name.
FBI.gov (June 2020) Special Agent Robert R. Hardesty died on June 2, 2005