RIP 05/27/08

Name: William Morgan Hardman
Rank/Branch: O4/US Navy
Unit: Attack Squadron 196, USS CONSTELLATION
Date of Birth:  16 November 1933
Home City of Record: St. Albans WV
Date of Loss: 21 August 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 210700N 1055100E (WJ882351)
Status (in 1973): Released POW
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A6A
Missions: 59

Official pre-capture photos

Other Personnel in Incident: Leo T. Profilet (released POW); On other A6s: J
Forrest G. Trembley and Dain V. Scott (missing);  Robert J. Flynn (released
POW) and Jimmy L. Buckley (ashes returned); on USAF F105s: Lynn K. Powell
and Merwin L. Morrill (both remains returned)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project with the assistance of one or more
of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence
with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Compiled: 15 March 1990.
Updated 2019 with information from Justin Jackson-Mann.


SYNOPSIS: On August 21, 1967, four aircraft launched from the USS
CONSTELLATION with the assignment to strike the Duc Noi rail yard four miles
north of Hanoi. The aircraft flew from Attack Squadron 196, based on board
the carrier.

The route from the coast-in point was uneventful with the exception of some
large weather cells building up. Further along their route they received
indications of launched Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs) and observed bursting
85mm anti-aircraft fire.

Lieutenant Commander "J" Forrest G. Trembley, bombardier/navigator of one
Intruder, reported he had been hit and he was advised to reverse course and
return to the coast. He transmitted that he was experiencing no difficulty
and would proceed to the target rather than egress alone. Commander Jimmy L.
Buckley was the pilot of this aircraft. Several SAMs had been launched at
this time and a transmission was made "Heads up for the Air Force strike"
which was being conducted in the vicinity of the A-6 target. An aircraft was
hit which was thought to be an Air Force aircraft.

Two F105D aircraft, flown by Air Force Major Merwin L. Morrill and 1Lt. Lynn
K. Powell, were shot down at this approximate location on August 21, 1967.
It is believed that one of these is the aircraft referred to in Navy
information concerning this incident. The remains of both Air Force crewmen
were repatriated on June 3, 1983. While Morrill had been classified Missing
in Action, it was believed that he was dead. Powell was classified as Killed
in Action/Body Not Recovered.

The division leader was hit while in the target area and two good parachutes
were observed. The crew of this A6, Commander William M. Hardman and Capt.
Leo T. Profilet, were captured by the North Vietnamese. Both men were
released from captivity on March 15, 1973.

The other three aircraft began their egress from the target. Surface-to-air
missiles (SAMs) were in flight everywhere and the aircraft were maneuvering
violently. A large weather cell separated them from the coast which
precluded their egress further north than planned.

Another transmission was heard -- "Skipper get out" -- and the voice was
recognized as that of Lieutenant Commander Trembley. A SAM detonated between
two of the other aircraft, two parachutes and flying debris were observed.
Lieutenant Commander Trembley transmitted, "This is Milestone 2, Milestone 1
was hit, 2 good chutes, 2 good chutes." The multitude of SAMs along with
deteriorating weather may be the reason for the flight to ultimately stray
well north of their planned egress track. It was believed that Lieutenant
Commander Trembley's aircraft was shot down in the vicinity of the Chinese

Trembley and his BN, Dain V. Scott, were placed in a Missing In Action
casualty status. Their case was discussed with the Chinese government by
then Congressmen Hale Boggs and Gerald Ford, with very little information
being obtained.

In their navigation around the weather, one of the remaining two A-6
aircraft observed MIGS in a run out of the overcast above Lieutenant
Commander Flynn's aircraft. Requests for assistance were radioed but went
unanswered. The tracking of the aircraft by airborne early warning aircraft
showed them crossing the Chinese border. The maximum penetration was about
eleven miles. A visual search could not be conducted due to poor weather in
the vicinity of the last known position.

Later that day Peking Radio reported "two U.S. A-6 aircraft were shot down
when they flagrantly intruded into China airspace and one crewman was
captured". Lieutenant Commander Flynn was held prisoner in China, his pilot,
Commander Jimmy L. Buckley, was reportedly killed in the shoot down.

On March 15, 1973 Lieutenant Commander Flynn was repatriated to U.S.
jurisdiction in Hong Kong and returned to the United States. The ashes of
Commander Jimmy L. Buckley were returned by the Chinese in December 1975.

Two Air Force bombers and three of the four Navy aircraft on the strike
mission on August 21, 1967 were shot down. Trembley and Scott, of the eight
Americans shot down on August 21, 1967, are the only two who remain Missing
in Action.

When American involvement in the Vietnam war ended by means of peace accords
signed in 1973, Americans held in countries other than Vietnam were not
negotiated for. Consequently, almost all of these men remain missing. During
the Nixon Administration and following administrations, relations with China
have eased, but the U.S. seems reluctant to address the years-old problem of
the fate of her men in China.

Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports have been received relating to
Americans missing in Southeast Asia. Many authorities believe there are
hundreds who are still alive, held captive. Whether Trembley and Scott could
be among them is not known. What seems certain, however, is that they have
been abandoned for political expediency.

William Hardman retired from the United States Navy as a Commander. He lived
in Florida until his death.


Commander William (Bill) Morgan Hardman, USN (Ret), age 74 passed
away 27 May 2008 at West Florida Hospital, Pensacola, Florida.

Bill worked as a volunteer at the Naval Aviation Museum, NAS Pensacola.
He worked out daily at the gym. While doing his daily workout, he had chest
pains and was taken to West Florida Hospital. He died of an apparent heart
attack shortly after arrival at the hospital.

Then LCDR, Bill was flying as the NFO (right seat) with Commander Leo
Profilet in their A6A Intruder, VA-196, USS Constellation, CVA-64 when
downed by a surface to air missile in North Vietnam on August 21, 1967.
Profilet and Hardman were immediately captured by North Vietnamese
forces. He was released March 14, 1973.

On August 21, 1967 CDR Profilet was leading a naval strike consisting of
four A-6 Intruders against the Duc Noi railway yard, five miles northeast of
Hanoi. During his attack, an SA-2 exploded close by damaging the
starboard wing. The wing came off and the aircraft quickly started to
tumble. The crew ejected safely and landed near Hanoi. A total of 51
missiles were launched against the Constellation's aircraft that day. Bill
was on his 59th combat mission in North Vietnam when downed.

Visitation   from 1000-1100 Monday, June 2nd at Naval Aviation
Memorial Chapel, NAS Pensacola.  Funeral Service at 1100, Naval
Aviation Memorial Chapel. Burial at Barrancas  National Cemetery
immediately following the service.


Obituary at https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/name/william-hardman-obituary?pid=110634735

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