Cpl. Julian (Jay) Hotard 344th BG 497th BS

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Colorized by Carrozza

         Colorized by Carrozza


(Taken from obituary) Jay Hotard served in the United States Army Air Corp during World War II, where he flew combat missions over Germany, first as an Aerial Gunner and later as a Bombardier. He obtained the rank of Second Lieutenant and was decorated with an Air Medal with Palm for combat and heroism and a European Theater of Operations Medal with 3 Battle Stars. As an officer he served in the Washington Artillery and was a member of the board of the Washington Artillery Veterans Association. Jay was also a member of the Society of War of 1812, B26 Marauder Historian Society and the 344th Bomb Group Squadron 497 Bomb Squadron.

Hotard with googles

Air Medal 2As per Brian Gibbons, historian, MHS:
I can find records of a Julian E. Hotard, Army Serial Number 38495873, listed as a Corporal and Radio Gunner in the 344th Bomb Group and listed as ‘Lost’. I do not find a Squadron mentioned. I also find a Jay E. Hotard as ‘Found’, with a reference of MHS 99, which I believe is for those that attended the big 1999 MHS reunion. He is listed as 497th BS, 344th BG.

If he progressed to be a 2nd Lt., it would be under some very unusual circumstances. With my current belief that if he was used as a “Togglier”, there could be a confusion because true bombardiers were officers but not toggiliers. It’s possible that he continued in the service in the post war period, and at that time become a 2nd Lt.

(Webmaster, Carrozza notes that he has not found and load list with Hotard as either bombardier or toggilier to date.)

I have found Hotard’s Order Papers for Enlisted Gunners on B-26 Gunnery Training at Buckingham Army Airfield (near Fort Myers, Fl.), dated 7th September 1944. I then found him again on Orders for overseas movement from Hunter Field, Savannah, Georgia on the 13th November, as part of crew 23. I then found him on transfer from the 70th Replacement depot to the 344th BG on the 13th December. The later two orders have the crew of:-

Pilot – Robert M. Mitchell
Co-Pilot – Jerome P. McCarthy
BN – John L. Duggan
RG – Julian E. Hotard
EG – Raymond E. Forbus
AG – LeRoy L. Lee

Hotard Training crew

The text you have sent mentions him becoming a 2nd Lt. in the WAVA, but I see no evidence that he attained that rank during the war. There is a possibility that he was also a “Togglier” rather than a properly trained “Bombardier”. In fact I also find him tracking the same path as my father-in-law Bill Spurrier, who was also an RG, and was a Corporal at the same time, and appears on the same Orders! He ended up as a S/Sgt., and even performed Gee Navigation! An Enlisted man jumping up to 2nd Lt., seems  odd to me currently. Especially when he is listed as having an Air Medal plus “Palm”, which could be either a Bronze or Silver Oak Leaf in reality. I would venture Silver, which would make over 30 missions, as Bill also got to about that number of missions in the same period of operations!


Hotard in front of "You've Ad It" 42-95952 7I-A

Hotard in front of “You’ve Ad It” 42-95952 7I-A

Hotard on Bike

Hotard riding his bike on base.

.Several mission records showed Cpl. Hotard as the radio gunner near the end of the war. Below are some examples.

B0298A p356 Form 3:19:45 Hellen Hotard

.This is the formation from March 19, 1945. The asterisk indicates Hotard’s position in Flight 2 Box 2 Position 3. They were assigned to bomb a railroad bridge in Volksmarsen.

B02908a p261 LL 3:19:45 Hellen:Hotard

The asterisk indicates his crew piloted by Hellen, co-piloted by McCarthy, Ferreolo as bombardier, Jeffries as engineer/gunner, Hoitard as radio/gunner, and Lee as tailgunner.

The plane was not named but designated as 42-96311 71-P. They took off at 9:50 am, released the bomb load as briefed and returned to base at 2:35 pm.

B0299 p139 Form 3:21:45 Hellen:Hotard

Two days later on March 21, 1945, Jay Hotard flew a mission to bomb a defended town communications point in Coesfeld Ahaus. His plane, piloted by Hellen was located in the rear of Box III.

.B0299 p9 LL 3:21:45 Hellen:Hotard

The asterisk on the load list above indicates a crew of Hellen (P), McCarthy (CP), Gunther (toggilier), Forbus (EG), Hotard (RG), Lee (TG)

The plane was not named but designated as 42-96311 71-P. They took off at 2:45 pm, released the bomb load as briefed and returned to base at 7:35 pm.

.B0300 p1010 Form April 25, 1945 Palmer-Hotard

On April 25, 1945, Julian Hotard took part in the final mission of the war for the 344th Bomb Group. They were assigned to bomb an airdrome in Erding, Germany.

Hotard’s pilot was Palmer and the asterisk indicates his formation position as Box 3 – Flight 1 – Position 2

B0300 p1030 LL April 25, 1945 Palmer-Hotard

The asterisk on the load list above indicates a crew of Palmer (P), McCarthy (CP), Trimble (toggilier), Forbus (EG), Hotard (RG), Lee (TG)

The plane was 42-95976 Moe’s Mauler 7I-P . They took off at 3:25 pm, released the bomb load as briefed and returned to base at 8:10 pm.

Where's Hotard guys with bomb

Photo: Hotard Collection

Hotard with K9-S

Hotard sits before K9-S


Standing before 42-95978 Sad Sack 7I-Q

Standing before 42-95978 Sad Sack 7I-Q