When he registered for the WW II draft, he was employed by the Weaver Spring & Bumper Works. He described himself as 5’6”, 130 lbs, with black hair and brown eyes. He enlisted in the USAAF at Camp Bowie, Brownwood, Texas, on 26 June 1941, while living in Dallas County, Texas. He was sent overseas to India and was selected for assignment to the 1st Commando Group, America’s first special operations military organization which worked closely with the Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S.) in India, China, and Burma. It was in that capacity, he was flying that fateful day. On 24 March 1944, a B-25H, # 43-4242, assigned to 1st Air Commando Squadron, departed the air field at Imphal, India and, at 2030 hours, crashed near Thelon, India. The wreckage of the C-47 was located in Manipur Pradish, India and recovery of some remains was concluded. The unidentifiable remains recovered by allied Graves Registration teams buried them in a single-casket one-grave burialin Arlington National Cemetery. Those remains included are believed to be of the following: British Capt. G.H. Borrow, MC, British War Correspondent Stewart Emeny,1stLt Brian F. Hodges, USAAF, TSgt James W. Hickey, USAAF, SSgt James W. McIninch, USAAF, TSgt Frank Sadoski, USAAF, 2ndLt Stephen A. Wanderer, USAAF, British War Correspondent Stanley Wills, British Major General Orde Charles Wingate, D.S.C. (Arlington Cemetery, Section 12, site 288).
The first memorial service was held at the crash site in March 1944, with full military honours, with Maj-Gen W. D. A. Lentaigne, Lord Louis Mountbatten, another officer and several British troops in attendance. A wooden cross was put in place; the cross held a round inscribed metal plaque, at its centre, which read: ‘Maj-Gen O. C. Wingate, DSO / Capt. G. H. Borrow, MC / Mr. Stewart Emeny (War Correspondent) / Mr. Stanley Wills (War Correspondent) / 1st Lieut. Brian E. F. Hodges, USAAF / 2nd Lieut. Stephan A. Wanderer, USAAF/ Tech Sgt Frank Sadoski, USAAF / S Sgt James W. Hickey, USAAF / S Sgt Vernon A. McInnich, USAAF’ The plaque was decorated with a simple line image of a chinthe (‘chindit’) and a pagoda spire.
In 1947 the remains of these crash victims were disinterred from their original burial place with the cooperation of allied graves affairs personnel and buried in the British War Cemetery at Imphal in India. As the severe impact of the crash prevented establishing which remains were which person, the policy of the time was for the remains to be buried in the nation from which the majority of the victims originated, the United States. On 10 November 1950 the intermingled remains were disinterred from the British War Cemetery at Imphal and buried, with full military honours, at Arlington Cemetery in the USA. The grave reference is Sec. 12. Collective Grave 288.
His brother, Ray E. Hickey, born 19 October 1921, Nevada, Texas, living at 3922 Capitol St., Dallas, TX, registered for the WW II draft on 8 June 1942. He described himself as 5’9”, 180 lbs, with black hair and brown eyes. He stated he was just discharged from the U.S. Navy. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy 9 November 1939. His assignments include AS – Aviation Support Equipment Technician and Seaman 2nd Class. He served on the U.S. Laub (DD 263), a destroyer, and the U.S.S. Crescent City (AP-40), a transport. Ashore assignments included the Naval Air Station, Corpus Christi, Texas. He enlisted in the USAAF on 17 October 1942 in Dallas, Texas, and was honorably separated 1 December 1945.