Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
Jed Boal reportingA Utah man who flew more than 50 bombing missions in World War II says he was simply trying to work his way home.
The veteran received numerous honors, but considered his duty his greatest reward.
Leo Hardy says he's lucky to be alive. He had many close calls in World War II.
Leo Hardy, World War II Veteran: “Yes, I was terrified, many many times."
As a bombadeer in the 307th Bomb Group, the Long Rangers, he flew 52 bombing runs in the Pacific..
Leo Hardy, World War II Veteran: "I wanted to do what I thought was my share."
25 or 30 missions on a B-24 was typically enough to earn an airman his ticket home.
Leo Hardy, World War II Veteran: "I love this country, and I know the price of freedom is pretty high."
Hardy was commissioned as an officer in the infantry and met his future wife at Fort Douglas.
But he wanted to do more, and as a bombadeer, he took out battleships, supply barges and oil tankers.
Leo Hardy, World War II Veteran: "I definitely wanted to go home so I volunteered for a lot of these missions."
On one mission, the bullet-riddled plane barely made it back...landing, as it ran out of fuel. The nine-man crew turned in their wings...and they were threatened with a court marshal.
Leo Hardy, World War II Veteran: "We said, 'Why don't you go out and look at our airplane, and then come back and talk to us.' When he came back he was the most humble man. He said, 'Guys, you must have gone through hell.'"
They flew many more missions, and received citations instead.
Earlier this month, his family took him to the World War II Memorial in Washington.
Leo Hardy, World War II Veteran: "I faced death so many times in my life...I know I’m not going to go until my time comes."
Hardy says he wouldn't give a million dollars for his experiences, but wouldn't take one cent to do it again because he wouldn't be here.
Hardy speaks tomorrow night at the Salt Lake City Library Auditorium at seven o'clock.