Lieutenant Colonel John Wilson Hicks, Jr.

John Wilson Hicks, Jr. was born August 8, 1941 in Bainbridge, (Decatur County) Georgia. He graduated from Hutto High School in 1959 with honors (ranked number seven (7) out of a class of 63). He is also a graduate from Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University), with a B.S. Degree in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. He further embarked upon his education by earning a Master's Degree from Tuskegee Institute in 1973 in Environmental Science. In 1979, he earned a second Master's Degree from Troy State University in Counseling and Human Development.

Mr. Hicks commissioned as a 2nd Lt. USAR, Infantry, through the Army ROTC Program at Tuskegee Institute. Additionally, he served in the US Army as an infantry Officer (Basic Branch) from 1963 to May 1971, leaving Active Duty as a Captain. He joined the Alabama Army National Guard in 1978 and served until 1992. Afterwards, he served in the US Army Reserve until 1994; retiring as a LTC (Lieutenant Colonel).

While serving in the military (Active Duty), Mr. Hicks spent 26 months in Germany and served in two (2) combat tours in Vietnam (S.E. Asia). Units served within Vietnam included the 9th Infantry Division; 4th Infantry Division; 101st Airborne Division; Advisor to 1st Battalion, of the 33rd Infantry Regiment of Vietnamese Army. He made one Combat Jump with Vietnamese LRRP (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol).

Awards and Decorations for Ret LTC. Hicks include: Combat Infantryman Badge; Expert Infantryman Badge; Parachutist Badge; and Expert Marksmanship Badge. Some of his medals, to name a few, include: Bronze Star with V Device (Valor); Bronze Star Meritorious Service; Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star; and Air Medal (2nd Award).

Mr. Hicks’ flying experience began in 1960 while a freshman in Air Force ROTC at Tuskegee Institute; with an Orientation Flight in the Air Force C-47 (Gooney Bird) by ROTC Instructors. The Pilots were LTC. H. Jones and Maj. L. Roberts, both Tuskegee Airmen. LTC. Jones was a Professor of Air Science and Maj. Roberts was Deputy Professor of Air Science at Tuskegee Institute.

While in Germany (1965), Army Major C. Brown allowed Mr. Hicks to handle controls of an Army CH-34 Helicopter during a non-combat flight. In Vietnam (late 1967 and early 1968), he had the opportunity to fly from the back seat of an Air Force Bird Dog with Air Force Captain M. Smith. The 0-1 Bird Dog was a FAC (Forward Air Controller) Aircraft used by the Air Force in Vietnam for observation (locating Targets for Artillery Fire and Air Strikes).

In 1968, while enrolling in the IOAC (Infantry Officers Advance Course), Mr. Hicks selected Flying as an elective and joined the Fort Benning Flying Club; where he enrolled in Ground School Instructions. He began actual flying lessons in Cessna 150 (N8157F), with Leo Keaney as his flight instructor. He soloed on April 1, 1969 as a Student Pilot, passed the written test; and received his Private Pilot's License in June of 1969. Currently, Ret LTC. Hicks is still flying and giving airplane rides. He supports the Angel/Mercy Flights by volunteering to fly patients to medical appointments.

As it relates to aircrafts, Ret LTC. Hicks currently owns a 1973 Beechcraft V-35B Bonanza (N88R) and a Cessna 150 (N61130). He is part owner of a Cessna 182. He has previously owned two Mooney aircraft 2, Cessna 172's and a 1956 Beechcraft (N44400).

Ret LTC. Hicks participates in various flying Organizations. He is a member of the EAA Young Eagles Program (logging more than 600 rides). He is also a member of the Black Pilots of America (BPA) and serves as the National President. He is also the President of the Local Chapter (Tuskegee Chapter of Black Pilots). Previous positions held in National Organizations include: Chairman of the Board (served 4½ years); President (6 years); Treasurer (3 years); and Operations Officer (6 years). He was also a member of the former NAI (Negro Airmen International), where he organized the Local Chapter (Chief Anderson Chapter of NAI; now known as Black Pilots of Tuskegee) in 1972; serving as President. ).

During his flying career, Mr. Hicks has attended Operation skyhook since 1972 and has won several awards to include the Top Gun award in 1998 and in 2001.

Other Membership and Organizations includes:

  1. Bethel Missionary Baptist Church (Chairman of the Board of Deacons since 1990)
  2. Trustee Board
  3. Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
  4. American Bonanza Society
  5. Experimental Aircraft Association

In addition to enjoying flying, Ret LTC. Hicks is also active in community and church activities. He retired from the Alabama Department of Public Health (Food and Drug Administration) in October 2011 as a contracted Food Inspector. He currently serves as a Reserve Deputy Sheriff with the local Macon County Sheriff's Department.

The culmination of Mr. Hick's career was highlighted when he received the Wright Brother's Flying award.

Tuskegee, AL