Richard Hartman was born on May 1, 1935, in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He entered the U.S. Naval Academy in June 1953, and graduated with a commission as an Ensign on June 7, 1957. Hartman next completed flight training and was awarded his Naval Aviator Wings at NAS Pensacola, Florida, in May 1958. After additional training at NAS Kingsville, Texas, he was assigned to Attack Squadron FORTY THREE from October to December 1960, and then to Attack Squadron EIGHTY-SIX aboard USS Independence (CVA-62) from December 1960 to June 1963. LT Hartman then attended the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, from June 1963 to May 1966. During this time, he obtained his Masters Degree in Aeronautical Engineering. Hartman next joined the Replacement Air Group with Attack Squadron 125 at NAS Lemoore, California, where he went through A-4 Skyhawk training before being assigned to Attack Squadron 164 aboard USS Oriskany (CVA-34) in September 1966. He began flying combat missions in Southeast Asia in October 1966, and was forced to eject over North Vietnam and was taken as a Prisoner of War on July 18, 1967. His Communist captors reported that he died in captivity four days later, on July 22, 1967, and his remains were returned to the United States on March 6, 1974. CDR Richard Hartman is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
His Navy Commendation Medal w/Valor Citation reads:
For heroic achievement in aerial flight on 16 July 1967 as a pilot in Attack Squadron ONE HUNDRED SIXTY-FOUR, embarked in USS ORISKANY (CVA-34). As a section leader, Commander (then Lieutenant Commander) Hartman participated in a strike and destroy mission against a P4-class patrol torpedo boat and a large motorized barge detected in the Lach Giang River, southeast of Ninh Binh, North Vietnam. While en route to the target, the strike group was exposed to two known active surface-to-air missile installations. In the face of intense, accurate antiaircraft fire, Commander Hartman led his section to the optimum attack roll-in point and executed a devastating attack on the patrol craft, placing all ordnance on target. Direct hits from his attack contributed significantly to the ultimate destruction of this important target. By his superior airmanship and courage under heavy enemy fire, Commander Hartman upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
The Combat Distinguishing Device is authorized.