HARDY, ARTHUR HANS
Remains Returned 830920
Name: Arthur Hans Hardy
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Date of Birth: 07 November 1948
Home City of Record: Ipswich MA
Date of Loss: 14 March 1972
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 160100N 106200E (XC410655)
Status (in 1973): Status was changed from POW to Missing in Action 11/73
Other Personnel in Incident: none missing
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project from one or more of the following:
raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA
families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK. 2020
REMARKS: Survived crash
SYNOPSIS: The OV10 Bronco was among the aircraft most feared by the Viet Cong
and NVA forces, because whenever the Bronco appeared overhead, an air strike
seemed certain to follow. Although the glassed-in cabin could become
uncomfortably warm, it provided splendid visibility. The two-man crew had armor
protection and could use machine guns and bombs to attack, as well as rockets to
mark targets for fighter bombers. This versatility enabled the plane to fly
armed reconnaissance missions, in addition to serving as vehicle for forward air
1Lt. Arthur H. Hardy was the pilot of an OV10A sent on a forward air control
mission over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos on March 14, 1972. The "Trail," a
road system in Laos near the Vietnam border, was used by the North Vietnamese
and Viet Cong for transporting weapons, supplies and troops. Hardy's aircraft
was hit during the mission, and he bailed out of the aircraft. He radioed to
rescuers that he was going down Routes #23 and #233, and his parachute was seen
on the trail. He was believed to be uninjured at that time. Search and Rescue
never found Arthur H. Hardy. He was declared Missing in Action, even though he
was alive on the ground in close proximity to enemy troops.
Records on American military personnel were maintained in various government
agencies. Raw intelligence data from Southeast Asia frequently first found its
way into the files of the organization which came to be known as Joint Casualty
Resolution Center (JCRC). Many analysts believed JCRC records were the most
complete and authoritative, since they contained largely raw data without
benefit of analytical "muddling".
In November 1973, JCRC received a cable from Defense Intelligence Agency which
was copied to various high stations, including CIA, the Secretary of State and
the White House. The cable stated JCRC should "take necessary action to delete
any references pertaining to PW [Prisoner of War] status and place members in a
new MIA code" the files of Arthur Hardy and several others. Whether JCRC had
intelligence that indicated Hardy had been captured is unknown.
Since American involvement in Vietnam ended in 1975, nearly 10,000 reports
relating to Americans missing, prisoner, or otherwise unaccounted for in
Indochina have been received by the U.S. Government. Many officials, having
examined this largely classified information, have reluctantly concluded that
many Americans are still alive today, held captive by our long-ago enemy.
Whether Hardy was captured by the enemy is certain not known. It is not known if
he might be among those thought to be still alive today. What is certain,
however, is that as long as even one American remains alive, held against his
will, we owe him our very best efforts to bring him to freedom.
Hardy graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1970. He was promoted to the rank
of Captain during the period he was maintained missing. His 's remains were
recovered and returned by a Lao citizen on 20 September 1983.
Hundreds of American pilots were shot down trying to stop this communist
traffic to South Vietnam. Fortunately, search and rescue teams in Vietnam
were extremely successful and the recovery rate was high.
Still there were nearly 600 who were not rescued. Many of them went down along
the Ho Chi Minh Trail and the passes through the border mountains between Laos
and Vietnam. Many were alive on the ground and in radio contact with search and
rescue and other planes; some were known to have been captured. Hanoi's
communist allies in Laos, the Pathet Lao, publicly spoke of American prisoners
they held, but when peace agreements were negotiated, Laos was not included, and
not a single American was released that had been held in Laos.