Vernon E. Wickman, (Col, USAF, Ret.), 98, of Woodbridge, Va., formerly of Three Rivers, passed away on Aug. 15, 2015. He was born Sept. 22, 1916 in Rochester, N.Y., to the late Francis E. and Ida (Schoenfeldt) Wickman.
He entered the military service as an Aviation Cadet in October 1941, and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Corps in May 1942. He was a P-51 fighter pilot in the western Pacific during World War II and received battle stars for the battles of the Mariana Islands, Iwo Jima and Japan. While on Iwo, his fighter escort missions accompanying B-52’s to Japan were the longest of the war.
Following the war, he served in various command and staff positions in the United States as well as overseas. During this time, he graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Military Science and received graduate certificates from the Air Force University and Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
He retired in 1971 after 30 years of service during which he was awarded the Legion of Merit, the Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal and many other awards and decorations.
He was a former member of the Three Rivers Rotary Club, American Legion Hice-Shutes Post 170, Pine View Golf Club, Michigan Audubon Society, and many environmental and wildlife protective associations. He enjoyed birding and was active in many sports.
Surviving are his wife, Helen; one daughter, Roberta Stevenson and her husband Robert of Ontario, N.Y.; sons, Scott Wickman of Webster, N.Y. and Douglas Wickman and his wife Karen of Midway City, Calif.; step son, Ronald Van Horn and his wife Margot of Dumfries, Va.; four granddaughters, grandsons, six great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his sister Geraldine Wright and her husband Claude of Webster, N.Y.
Graveside service with Full Military Honors will be held in Arlington National Cemetery Dec. 9, 2015, at 11 a.m. Arrangements under the direction of Mountcastle Turch Funeral Home, Dale City, Va.