Mt. Vernon’s Carl recognized in Hawaii for service as pilot during Vietnam War

Carl, recently, stands next to an F-4 Phantom.

A young Hardy Carl (right) stands atop his fighter of choice the F-4 Phantom.

USS Joseph T. Dickman (Photos submitted)

Hardy Carl, a resident of Mt. Vernon, has been honored at the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum for his service flying an F-4 Phantom in the Vietnam War. The ceremony, which was held in Honolulu, Hawaii, honored Carl and 10 others for their aerial service in the Pacific Wars over the years. As part of the event, Carl received a plaque on a seat in the museum theater.
Carl graduated from Mt. Vernon High School but began his flying career in 1961, when he graduated from Missouri University with a Navy commission. During his time in college, he received a private pilot license and, in 1963, obtained his aviator wings from the Navy.
Carl flew an F-4 Phantom, which was, at the time, the fastest jet to be held on a carrier. In his three years of sea duty in the aircraft, he completed 450 landings on the Independence carrier, over 100 of which were at night.
In 1965, Carl was deployed to Vietnam, where he flew close-air support missions. He recounted a tale of one of his most vivid memories from that time in an interview, detailing an encounter with anti-aircraft weaponry. He was fired upon with a surface-to-air missile, evading it before it crashed down to the ground. By the end of his military career, Carl had flown over 1,800 hours in the Phantom. Maria Carl, his daughter, spoke to the difficulty of his assignment in an interview with The Record.
“It’s tough enough to keep this huge and powerful jet in control when taking off and landing on a moving flight deck in a roiling ocean at night, but to do it while being targeted with anti-aircraft missiles and artillery every time just ups the ante,” Maria said.
Carl lost many friends to the war, with others being detained in a POW camp for eight years. He said that, while he was humbled to be recognized at the ceremony, the real credit lies with the ones who didn’t make it back.
“The honors go to those that were unfortunate enough to pay the ultimate price and also their families who lost their loved ones.
The seat that holds his name in the museum also holds some significance for Carl, with the plaque sitting upon seat F-4 in the theater.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


Please Login for Premium Content