|Lieut. Comdr. George Hicks|
SINK 7 JAP SHIPS, HIT 2
By VERN HAUGLAND
OKINAWA, May 27.------(Delayed)
---(AP)---Two Navy Privateer search planes, sweeping "the last hunting ground for Japanese ships," along the Korean Coast, sunk seven enemy vessels, including a destroyer, and damaged two others today.
Most of the ships were fairly small, so the total tonnage sunk probably didn't exceed 5000. However, it was a record in numbers which included a warship, a type of vessel not normally attacked by these planes.
Five freighter type ships were sunk and two damaged by Privateers piloted by Lieut. Comdr. Hicks, 3275 Dakota Street, Oakland, and Lieut. Leo Kennedy, Ethlyn, Missouri.
Turning homeward with just one bomb left--a 1000-pounder in Kennedy's plane--they sighted two destroyers of a fairly new class 30 miles off Korea. The ships were heading north toward Kyushu.
Hicks strafed one of the destroyer's gun crews heavily, enabling Kennedy to make a good, straight bombing run.
The bombardier, ARM 2c, Gerald M. Kenyon, Owatonna, Minn., dropped his thousand-pounder smack amidships. The tail gunner, S1c Perry Goodson, Cusseta, Ala., saw the ship explode and sink.
The planes, out of explosives, had to let the other destroyer get away. The thousand-pound bomb blew the bow completely off the destroyer, Hicks said.
"We strafed all the freighters and the gunners set three of them afire," he added. "In fact, one ship was sunk entirely by strafing. It's easy to miss with a bomb, but those armor-piercing 50 calibers don't miss, specially from mast-height, which is how we attacked."
Lieut. Comdr. George L. Hicks, 32, of 3275 Dakota Street, has received the Distinguished Flying Cross and a Gold Star in lieu of the second D.F.C.
A veteran of more than eight years of naval service, Hicks was given the Gold Star in October for what was described as a daring, single-plane attack on an 11-ship enemy convoy last June.
"While piloting a Liberator bomber on a search mission," an official report related, "he sighted the Japanese ships west of Truk and tore right into them. He received a warm response as anti-aircraft fire blazed all around him, but he kept working on his targets despite the fact that his plane was hit several times."
"The Oakland flier dived after the largest ship first, scoring a direct bomb hit and one near-miss that sent the 7,000 ton vessel to the bottom. He repeatedly strafed the convoy, damaging a destroyer and other ships in the group."
Hicks is the son of Mr. and Mrs. George Hicks of 22235 Baywood Avenue, Hayward.
His wife, Charlotte, and their son, Lloyd Leighton Hicks, live at the Dakota Street address.
The flier is a graduate of the University of California. He saw action of Wake, Saipan, Truk, the Bonins and Kwajalein.
George Leighton Hicks of Three Rivers died Wednesday, Dec. 12, in Visalia. He was 89.
George was born Sept. 10, 1912, in Acton, Calif., to George Hicks and Annie Leighton Hicks. The family moved to Tulare County in the 1920s, living in Three Rivers, Milo (south of Blue Ridge), and a log cabin in Grouse Valley (three miles south of upper South Fork Drive).
George's mother taught at the original Three Rivers School (South Fork and Old Three Rivers drives). His father was a poet and writer.
George graduated from Three Rivers Union School. He attended Porterville High School and graduated from Porterville Junior College, where he was student body president.
George learned to fly while attending Porterville Junior College. He was also member of the rifle team, which won the national intercollegiate championship in 1932, 1933, and 1934; George was the small-bore national champion and the large-bore runnerup. During the Great Depression, George's father operated a boys' camp in Grouse Valley. George helped out by taking the campers fishing in the backcountry.
George also worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps during summer vacations, helping build roads and bridges throughout Tulare County.
George attended San Jose State Teachers College and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1936. He joined the U.S. Navy that year and became an aviation cadet, receiving his wings at Pensacola, Fla.
He was a flight instructor at Corpus Christie, Texas. This is where he met and married Charlotte Jane Lees, the daughter of a pioneer aviator, Walter E. Lees.
George trained in carrier-based fighter planes on the USS Ranger with Capt. John McCain, Sr. He served two tours of duty in the Central Pacific during World War II, flying B24 patrol bombers.
During his first tour, George was his squadron's Executive Officer. During his second tour, he was Commanding Officer.
For his war service, George was awarded two Silver Star medals, five Distinguished Flying Crosses, six Air Medals, and the Presidential Unit Citation.
In 1949, George retired from active duty. He declined job offers an an airline pilot and business executive to return to Three Rivers to be near the mountains he loved. He remained in the Naval Reserves, retiring as a Rear Admiral.
George operated a lumber mill on land he owned near Blue Ridge (south of Grouse Valley). In 1964, he began teaching seventh grade at Three Rivers School.
He retired from teaching in 1972 and spent his leisure time fly-fishing in Mineral King and the Sierra backcountry, hunting in Grouse Valley, and working as a volunteer for the National Park Service checking streams.
In addition to his wife of 59 years, Charlotte "Billie" Hicks, George is survived by his four children, Lloyd Hicks and wife Loretta of Visalia, Loanne Van Groningen and husband Cornelius of Visalia, Larry Hicks and wife Sharon of Los Altos, and Walter Hicks and wife Dianne of Kingsburg; 11 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
Private services will be held.
Remembrances in George Hicks' name may be made to the Three Rivers Historical Society, P.O. Box 162, Three Rivers, CA 93271