VINCENT J HICKMAN

VINCENT J HICKMAN - CAPT

  • HOMETOWN:
  • willingboro
  • COUNTY:
  • Burlington
  • DATE OF BIRTH:
  • March 20, 1933
  • DATE OF CASUALTY:
  • January 14, 1964
  • BRANCH OF SERVICE:
  • Air Force
  • RANK:
  • CAPT
  • STATUS:
  • MIA
  • COUNTRY:
  • South Vietnam

Biography


Vincent J. Hickman was born on March 20, 1933, to Arthur and Marie Hickman.  His home of record is Willingboro.  He was one of five children.  He attended Xavier High School in New York City.  He received his BA in 1965 from Fordham University.  He sang with the Fordham Glee Club.

Vincent married Anna Gilmartin Hickman and was the father of four children - Eileen, Maureen, Margaret and Patricia.  They resided in Willingboro, NJ.

Hickman enlisted in the US Air Force in May 1960, after serving in the New York Air National Guard in the 1950's. Hickman attained the rank of Captain (CAPT) in the US Air Force, 1st Air Commando Squadron before being listed as missing in action in South Vietnam on January 14, 1964, when his aircraft crashed and burned. 

He left behind his wife and four children all under the age of five.

Hickman was awarded the Air Force Cross, the Purple Heart, the Air Medal and the Republic of Vietnam National Order, 5th Class.

Hickman's citation for the Air Force Cross states:
Captain Vincent J. Hickman distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force as an Advisor-Navigator of a B-26B aircraft on 14 January 1964.  On that date, Captain Hickman voluntarily exposed himself during low level flights over hidden Viet Cong machine gun installations.  Despite heavy machine gun fire, which repeatedly struck the aircraft, Captain Hickman aggressively continued his efforts to locate and destroy the machine gun installations until the badly damaged aircraft crashed and burned.

Synopsis (from the POW Network) as to the circumstances behind being listed as MIA:
Major Carl Berg Mitchell and Captain Vincent Joseph Hickman were assigned to the 1st Air Commando Squadron, arriving in-country to South Vietnam in November 1963.

Major Mitchell, pilot, Captain Hickman, navigator and 10 year Air Force veteran, and a Vietnamese Air Force observer took off in a B-26B aircraft (tail number 44-35566) out of Bien Hoa Air Base, SVN at 1800 on 14 Jan 1964 on a combat support mission.  After completion of the first napalm drop on the target, their aircraft was observed to crash and burn at around 1815.  Their wingman later confirmed they were shot down by ground fire. (This is according to a squadron mate.)  There was no immediate evidence of survivors after the crash.  A medical evacuation helicopter was immediately dispatched to the scene (Grid coordinates YT193330, approx 30 km northeast of Bien Hoa.  7 km north of Cau Tri An, Dong Nai Province.)  The medevac was unable to approach the crash site initially because of heavy hostile action in the crash area and ground troops could not secure the area until 19 Jan 64.  They searched the crash site and found no evidence of survivors.  From statements by eyewitnesses to the crash, it was believed that the crew was killed at the time of the crash.  Status of Major Mitchell and Captain Hickman was changed from missing to deceased on 21 Jan 64. 

 Because there was not a formal declaration of war by Congress, Mitchell and Hickman were listed by the Defense Department as non-combat deaths.  At the time, Air Force personnel in Vietnam were there in the role of advisors (explaining the need for a Vietnamese observer on the aircraft).

Sources: Anna Hickman (wife), the POW Network and NJVVMF.

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