Vincent Hickman was born on March 20, 1933, in Brooklyn, New York. He enlisted in the New York Air National Guard on February 1, 1951, and served until January 31, 1954. Hickman was commissioned a 2d Lt in the U.S. Air Force through the Air Force ROTC Program at Fordham University on June 13, 1956, and went on active duty beginning July 5, 1957. He next attended Undergraduate Pilot Training, but did not complete the program, and became a Personnel Officer at Mitchel AFB, New York, where he served from December 1957 to April 1959. Lt Hickman then entered Undergraduate Navigator Training, and was awarded his Navigator Wings at James Connally AFB, Texas, in February 1960. After attending Combat Crew Training, Hickman served as an RB-66 Destroyer Navigator with the 9th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron at Shaw AFB, South Carolina, from October 1960 to February 1962, and then as a C-118 Liftmaster Navigator with the 30th Air Transport Squadron at McGuire AFB, New Jersey, from February 1962 to November 1963. He then transferred to the 1st Air Commando Squadron at Bien Hoa AB in the Republic of Vietnam, where he served as a B-26 Invader Navigator-Bombardier from November 1963 until he was killed in action on January 14, 1964. His remains have never been recovered.
His Air Force Cross Citation reads:
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Air Force Cross (Posthumously) to Vincent Joseph Hickman, Captain, U.S. Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in military operations against an opposing armed force as an Advisor-Navigator of a B-26B aircraft in the 1st Air Commando Squadron, 34th Tactical Group, Bien Hoa Air Base, Vietnam, SEVENTH Air Force, in action 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 machine gun installations until the badly damaged aircraft crashed and burned. Through his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of hostile forces, Captain Hickman reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.