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LT  John W. HARD


Comments1: 15 APR 45 ROYAN




Lt.  Albert A. Prestholdt                               Pilot  CPT 15 April 1945  Royan, Fr.
Lt.   John W. Hard                                Co-Pilot  CPT 15 April 1945   Royan, Fr.
Lt.  Robert E. Kirby                                Navigator FEH Became Lead Navigator after 5-10 Missions
S/Sgt. Orval "Casey" Siefers               Waist Gunner CPT 15 April 1945  Royan, Fr. ( moved to Toggelier when Kirby left crew)
T/Sgt  Jack W. Marsh                              Engineer CPT 15 April 1945  Royan, Fr.
T/Sgt.  David C. Reynolds                  Radio Operator CPT 15 April 1945  Royan, Fr.
S/Sgt. Paul  E. Hall                               Ball Turrett CPT 15 April 1945  Royan, Fr.
S/Sgt. Arnet L. Jaberg                     Waist Gunner CPT 15 April 1945  Royan, Fr.
S/Sgt. Vesper N. Maxted                        Tail Gunner CPT 15 April 1945  Royan, Fr. (nicknamed "Kansas Kid")

Crew assigned to 100th BG, 418th Squadron, Nov 5. 1944.  Crew flew 35 missions.  Finished tour in A/C 48616 LD-Z
Had to crash land 3 times due to battle damage. Once at Thorpe Abbotts (31/12/44) and twice in Belgium.

The Bombardier for the crew was taken off before they were assigned overseas.  He was eventually killed in an accident in Tampa Florida when the pilot lined up on the wrong runway.  Lt Prestholdt used fill in Bomb for the remainder of his tour.  F/O Charlie Benyunes flew some missions as Navigator with this crew.  Nav. Lt Kirby was the last to join the crew in Tampa. The crew was together for 3 1/2 months before being assigned overseas.  (Albert Angus Prestholdt mpf 2001)

Dec 31, 1944-HAMBURG:
"During the bomb run we had two engines shot out.  #3 Engine was blown completely off by flak and #4 was hit by flak.  Saw Lt Hendersons plane collide with Lt Williams plane.  Both planes went down locked together, what a long way down!  We turned off the target right into the fighters.  Our aircraft was a sieve from flak and fighters.  We came back on the deck with our engines red lined just to keep her in the air.  Was afraid we would not make England but did not want to ditch in North Sea at that time of year.  We arrived back to base very late that night.  12 A/C lost."  (Albert Prestholdt mpf 2001)   

UNAME = John W. Hard M.D.
CONNECTION = I am a 100th veteran
COMMENTS = The caption under the photograph of A.A. Prestholdt's crew indicates that you do not have the date we joined the Bloody Hundreth.  It was November 5, 1944.

Bob Kirby came over with our crew and after several missions, was moved up to squadron navigator.  Orval Seifers then was switched from WG position to toggelier.  I'm really sorry that I can't list our 35 missions  All of my 8th AF records were lost many years ago in a fire.  I'll check to see if Angus (Prestholdt) might possibly have them.  If I can locate this information, I'll send it to you.
John Hard (Co-Pilot)


John Hard 
418th Squadron 
Died: Sept. 10, 2017

John was Co-Pilot on the Albert Prestholdt crew which arrived at the 100th BG on Nov 5, 1944.  The crew flew 35 missions, completing their tour on April 15, 1945 to Royan, before John Hard’s 21st birthday. On the Dec 31, 1944 Hamburg mission the crew lost two engines on the bomb run, witnessed the Piggyback incident, and was attacked by enemy fighters.  Prestholdt said “our aircraft was a sieve from flak and fighters. We came back on the deck with our engines red-lined just to keep her in the air…” Twelve planes and crews from the 100th were lost that mission, but Prestholdt and Hard limped their B-17 back to Thorpe Abbotts late, crash-landing with all crew surviving.






 A. A. Prestholdt Crew - Drew Field, Tampa Florida in Sept 1944; L-R: Al Prestholdt, John Hard, and Robert Kirby Detailed Information (100th Photo Archives) 



Crew 1

ID: 2168