1st Lt John R. Herdic was born in 1921 in Williamsport, PA, where he grew up. He was attending college when WWII broke out and signed up for the Army Air Force in early 1942. He was sent to navigator school in Texas and New Mexico and sent to India (CBI) as a navigator. In January 1944 he left for Yangkai Field, China. He was a navigator with the 491st Bomb Squadron B25s, the "Ringers" (341st Bomb Group, 14th Air Force) as part of Gen Claire Chennault's Flying Tigers
Their specialty was 'glip bombing,' a technique they created for low level bombing of Japanese controlled rail lines, rail bridges, supply routes and facilities, sometimes 10' off the deck over water when attacking Japanese military and merchant ships. This cut down the required amount of bombs by half as they could be more accurate at low level than higher up. For developing this technique, the 341st Bomb Group was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation, an award granted by the President.
He was KIA at Duong Dao, Indochina (now the very southern part of Vietnam) while bombing a railroad bridge on January 19, 1945 during his 50th mission/51st week from Yankai Field. He would have gone home after that mission.
My father-in-law, then Capt William P. Dougan, HQ Bomb Group navigator, described Lt John R Herdic as a very nice person, top notch navigator, and possessing a great sense of humor. They were great friends, and roommates.
He left behind a widow, Joanne, and no children. His brother, Carl W. Herdic, Jr, was a bomber pilot in the European theater.
Among the medals awarded to Lt John Herdic are The Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart, and a Presidential Citation given to his Bomb Group (the only one given in the Pacific Theater). He was posthumously awarded 2 additional medals, received by his widow, Joanne, in November 1945.
(By Danny Borgers)