Navy pilot honored after 60 years
LA JOLLA (KUSI) – Navy Pilot Albert Hickman was remembered on Mount Soledad Saturday for saving the lives of over 700 people.
On December 4th, 1959, while trying to land his F3H Demon jet at what was then Miramar Naval Air Station, he began experiencing engine failure. When Hickman realized his jet was headed straight for Hawthorne Elementary School, where close to 700 kids were playing outside, he made the decision not to eject but instead stay in the cockpit to guide the jet away.
Debra Dawson was a third grader at the elementary school at the time, and came from Texas to pay her respects and give thanks.
“A 21-year-old had the wherewithal, the passion in his heart and heroism in his soul not to bail out,” says Dawson, “but to save a playground full of schoolchildren and teachers.”