HICKS, JAMES LEVI, Staff Sergeant, # 34722415, USAAF
James L. Hicks was born in 1923 in Cleveland, Bradley Co., Tennessee, to Levi Wilson Hicks (1891-1968) and Cleo Effie (Randolph) Hicks (1897-1973). Siblings were Wilma M. Hicks (1916-2013), C.L. Hicks (1917-1917), Roy M. Hicks (1918-2010), Bonnie D. (Hicks) Lawson (1920-2012), Clyde Randolph Hicks (1923-2009), Helen L. Hicks (1926-1987), Betty Jean (Hicks) Hyde (1928-1998).
He enlisted in the USAAF at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, on 18 February 1943. He was trained to maintain and operate the radio equipment on the B-24 Liberator. He earned his crewman wings. He was sent overseas through India to China. On 31 August 1944 a B-24J, # 44-40783, assigned to 14th Air Force, 308th Bomb Group, 425th Bomb Squadron, Kunming, China, departed the airfield at Liuchow and formed with other B-24s on a mission to bomb shipping at Takao Harbor, Taiwan. Second B-24J lost on same flight: 44-40831, same unit. Formosa Intelligence reported a B-24 shot down in Sea of Takao, by Japanese Submarine Chaser. MP Sgt Masayoshi Kakimoto dispatched to Ryuku Islands (Okinawa, etc.) informed of aviators afloat on sea. Found one and captured him: Capt. George Keats O’Neil. Capt. O’Neil said that Reade, Roney, Mast and Hicks bailed out from forward compartment. Fired on in parachutes and on water. Capt. O’Neil believes all lost. He is remembered on the tablets of the missing in the Manila American Cemetery & Memorial, Philippines. He was awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.
His brother, Clyde R. Hicks, born 8 August 1923 and served in the U.S. Army from 18 March 1943, during WWII and the Korean War, a Captain. He died 24 July 2009 and is buried in the Mountain Home National Cemetery, Johnson City, Washington Co., Tennessee.