Ensign Albert J. Hickman
This American Legion Post, #460 in the Department of California, is dedicated to the memory of a heroic young naval aviator, Ensign Albert J. Hickman
On Friday, December 4, 1959, Ensign Hickman was practicing aircraft carrier landings as part of a training mission conducted from Miramar Naval Air Station. When his F3H Demon suddenly stalled, Hickman was still 2,000 feet above the ground. He could easily have ejected from the cockpit in time to save his own life.
Below him, however, and directly in the path of the crippled plane was Hawthorne Elementary School, where more that 700 children were playing in the schoolyard.
Hickman chose to remain in the cockpit. He somehow maneuvered the descending plane away from the school, assuring the safety - and probably saving the lives - of several hundred people.
Now at an altitude of only 60 feet, he no longer had the option to eject. The plane crashed into a nearby canyon, exploding on impact, and Albert J. Hickman was killed.
In December, 1961, while awaiting their permanent charter, our founding members voted to name their new Post in honor of the young pilot whose courageous and selfless actions saved so many other young lives.