Original U.S. WWII U.S.S. Arizona Casualty Signalman 3rd Class Arthur Lee Hickman Posthumous Presidential Citation - Sm3 Hickman Is Still Entombed Inside The Arizona

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-A-Kind. On 7 December 1941 "a date which will live in infamy", the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and the USS Arizona was hit by several air-dropped armor-piercing bombs. One detonated an explosive-filled magazine, sinking the battleship and killing 1,177 of its officers and crewmen, one of whom was Signalman 3rd Class Kickman. Unlike many of the other ships attacked that day, Arizona was so irreparably damaged that it was not repaired for service in World War II. The shipwreck still lies at the bottom of Pearl Harbor beneath the USS Arizona Memorial. Dedicated to all those who died during the attack, the memorial is built across the ship's remains.

The USS Arizona is the final resting place for over 900 of the ship's 1,177 crewmen who lost their lives on December 7, 1941, one of them is Sm3 Arthur Lee Hickman.

A week after he turned 17, Arthur Lee Hickman took a test to join the Navy. The military was his path out of Coin, Iowa, and what had been a difficult childhood. He was born August 2, 1920, to Arthur Stanley Hickman, a farmer, and Anna Haynes Hickman, a homemaker.

That winter his father and uncle shot and killed a sheriff’s deputy who pursued them after they committed an armed robbery of men gathered to play craps. They were sentenced to life in prison, though within the year the uncle escaped and was never heard from again.

The women of Coin, then a town of 600, gathered food for Mrs. Hickman and her five young children. “Mrs. Hickman seems like a very nice woman and the children are nice little tots,”.

The family attended Mr. Hickman’s trial in August 1921, and when it ended three men took to the streets of Atlantic, Iowa, and collected $40 in donations for the mother and children. The Des Moines newspaper described the family as destitute. For at least two years in the late 1920s, Page County paid Mrs. Hickman a “widow’s pension” of $2 a week for each child. That’s the same as about $28 in 2019 dollars. Mrs. Hickman also went to work -- the 1930 Census described her as a washerwoman in a private home.

The oldest daughter, Ethel, graduated from high school in 1932 and moved to Indiana to work. She died of pneumonia in 1937.

The oldest son, Lester, joined the Civilian Conservations Corps, a Depression-era federal jobs program in 1935. A second son, Howard, joined the Navy in 1939 and served throughout World War II. He later named a son Arthur Lee in honor of his youngest brother.

Arthur Lee Hickman, known as Lee, played football and basketball at Coin High and graduated in May 1937. He was one of many who left far southwest Iowa in the depths of the Depression. Coin lost 15 percent of its population in the 1930s. Hickman officially enlisted in the Navy on October 20, 1937.

During the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor, Signalman 3rd Class Hickman was serving aboard the USS Arizona and was trapped inside when the final devastating blow was struck. Petty Officer Hickman was listed as MIA/KIA after the ship was attacked at Pearl Harbor. He was awarded the Purple Heart.

Just like the thousands of other families that lost their loved ones on that day, a “condolence” letter was awarded to the next of kin, just like this example here. It reads:


Arthur Lee Hickman


Pearl Harbor, attached U.S.S. Arizona, 7 December 1941


Franklin D. Roosevelt
President of the United States of America

The condition of the certificate is very good, the signature is autopen, there is minor staining but nothing that subtracts from the beauty.

This is an incredible piece of history and is welcomed into any WWII collection. It come more than ready to be professionally framed and displayed.

USS Arizona (BB-39)
USS Arizona was a battleship built for the United States Navy in the mid-1910s. Named in honor of the 48th state, she was the second and last ship in the Pennsylvania class. After being commissioned in 1916, Arizona remained stateside during World War I but escorted President Woodrow Wilson to the subsequent Paris Peace Conference. The ship was deployed abroad again in 1919 to represent American interests during the Greco-Turkish War. Two years later, she was transferred to the Pacific Fleet, under which the ship would remain for the rest of her career.

The 1920s and 1930s saw Arizona regularly deployed for training exercises, including the annual fleet problems, excluding a comprehensive modernization between 1929 and 1931. The ship supported relief efforts in the wake of a 1933 earthquake near Long Beach, California, and was later filmed for a role in the 1934 James Cagney film Here Comes the Navy before budget cuts led to significant periods in port from 1936 to 1938. In April 1940, the Pacific Fleet's home port was moved from California to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, as a deterrent to Japanese imperialism.

On 7 December 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and Arizona was hit by several air-dropped armor-piercing bombs. One detonated an explosive-filled magazine, sinking the battleship and killing 1,177 of its officers and crewmen. Unlike many of the other ships attacked that day, Arizona was so irreparably damaged that it was not repaired for service in World War II. The shipwreck still lies at the bottom of Pearl Harbor beneath the USS Arizona Memorial. Dedicated to all those who died during the attack, the memorial is built across the ship's remains.

Attack on Pearl Harbor
Shortly before 08:00 local time on 7 December 1941, Japanese aircraft from six aircraft carriers struck the Pacific Fleet as it lay in port at Pearl Harbor, and wreaked devastation on the warships and installations defending Hawaii. On board Arizona, the ship's air raid alarm went off at about 07:55, and the ship went to general quarters soon after. Shortly after 08:00, ten Nakajima B5N2 "Kate" torpedo bombers, five each from the carriers Kaga and Hiryū, attacked Arizona. All of the aircraft were carrying 41-centimeter (16.1 in) armor-piercing shells modified into 797-kilogram (1,757 lb) bombs. Flying at an estimated altitude of 3,000 meters (9,800 ft), Kaga's aircraft bombed Arizona from amidships to stern. Soon after, Hiryū's bombers hit the bow area.

The aircraft scored four hits and three near misses on and around Arizona. The near miss off the port bow is thought to have caused observers to believe that the ship had been torpedoed, although no torpedo damage has been found. The sternmost bomb ricocheted off the face of Turret IV and penetrated the deck to detonate in the captain's pantry, causing a small fire. The next forward most hit was near the port edge of the ship, abreast the mainmast, probably detonating in the area of the anti-torpedo bulkhead. The next bomb struck near the port rear 5-inch AA gun.

Magazine Explosion
The last bomb hit at 08:06 in the vicinity of Turret II, likely penetrating the armored deck near the magazines located in the forward section of the ship. While not enough of the ship is intact to judge the exact location, its effects are indisputable: about seven seconds after the hit, the forward magazines detonated in a cataclysmic explosion, mostly venting through the sides of the ship and destroying much of the interior structure of the forward part of the ship. This caused the forward turrets and conning tower to collapse downward some 25–30 feet (7.6–9.1 m) and the foremast and funnel to collapse forward, effectively tearing the ship in half. The explosion touched off fierce fires that burned for two days; debris showered down on Ford Island in the vicinity. The blast from this explosion also put out fires on the repair ship Vestal, which was moored alongside. The bombs and subsequent explosion killed 1,177 of the 1,512 crewmen on board at the time, approximately half of the lives lost during the attack.

Two competing hypotheses have arisen about the cause of the explosion. The first is that the bomb detonated in or near the black-powder magazine used for the ship's saluting guns and catapult charges. This would have detonated first and then ignited the smokeless powder magazines which were used for the ship's main armament. A 1944 Navy Bureau of Ships report suggests that a hatch leading to the black powder magazine was left open, possibly with flammable materials stocked nearby. The Naval History and Heritage Command explained that black powder might have been stockpiled outside the armored magazine. The alternative explanation is that the bomb penetrated the armored decks and detonated directly inside one of the starboard magazines for the main armament, but smokeless powder is relatively difficult to detonate. Thus the 14-inch powder bags required a black powder pad to quickly ignite the powder. The time elapsed from the bomb hit to the magazine explosion was shorter than experience suggested burning smokeless powder required to explode. It seems unlikely that a definitive answer to this question will ever be found, as the surviving physical evidence is insufficient to determine the cause of the magazine explosion.

Awards and Recognition
After the attack, several sailors received medals for their conduct and actions under fire. Lieutenant Commander Samuel G. Fuqua, the ship's damage control officer, earned the Medal of Honor for his cool-headedness while quelling fires and getting survivors off the wrecked battleship. Posthumous awards of the Medal of Honor also went to two high-ranking officers who were on board the battleship when it was destroyed: Rear Admiral Kidd, the first flag officer killed in the Pacific war, and Captain Van Valkenburgh, who reached the bridge and was attempting to defend his ship when the bomb that hit the onboard ammunition magazines destroyed it. Arizona was awarded one battle star for her service in World War II.

Salvage and Memorial
Arizona was placed "in ordinary" (declared to be temporarily out of service) at Pearl Harbor on 29 December, and was stricken from the Naval Vessel Register on 1 December 1942. She was so badly damaged by the magazine explosion that she was not thought fit for service even if she could be salvaged, unlike many of the other sunken ships nearby. Her surviving superstructure was scrapped in 1942, and her main armament was salvaged over the next year and a half. The aft main gun turrets were removed and reinstalled as United States Army Coast Artillery Corps Battery Arizona at Kahe Point on the west coast of Oahu and Battery Pennsylvania on the Mokapu Peninsula, covering Kaneohe Bay at what is now Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Battery Pennsylvania fired its guns for the first and last time on V-J Day in August 1945 while training, while the nearby Battery Arizona was never completed. Both forward turrets were left in place, although the guns from Turret II were salvaged and later installed on Nevada in the fall of 1944 after having been straightened and relined. Nevada later fired these same guns against the Japanese islands of Okinawa and Iwo Jima.

Arizona Memorials
Unlike the USS Constitution, Arizona is not perpetually in commission. Arizona is under the control of the National Park Service, but the US Navy still retains the title. Arizona retains the right, in perpetuity, to fly the United States flag as if she were an active, commissioned naval vessel.

The wreck of Arizona remains at Pearl Harbor to commemorate the men of her crew lost that December morning in 1941. On 7 March 1950, Admiral Arthur W. Radford, commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet at that time, instituted the raising of colors over her remains. Legislation during the administrations of presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy resulted in the designation of the wreck as a national shrine in 1962. A memorial was built across the ship's sunken remains, including a shrine room listing the names of the lost crew members on a marble wall. The national memorial was administratively listed on the National Register of Historic Places on 15 October 1966. The ship herself was designated a National Historic Landmark on 5 May 1989. Upon their death, survivors of the attack may have their ashes placed within the ship, among their fallen comrades. Veterans who served aboard the ship at other times may have their ashes scattered in the water above the ship.

While the superstructure and two of the four main gun turrets were removed, the barbette of one of the turrets remains visible above the water. Since her sinking, oil still leaks from the hull, with more than 2.3 quarts (2.18 L) escaping into the harbor per day. In 2004, the US Navy and the National Park Service oversaw a comprehensive computerized mapping of the hull, being careful to honor its role as a war grave. The navy considered non-intrusive means of abating the continued leakage of oil to avoid the further environmental degradation of the harbor.

One of the original Arizona bells now hangs in the University of Arizona Student Union Memorial Center bell tower. The bell is rung after every home football victory, over any team except other Arizona schools. A gun, mast, and anchor from Arizona are in Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza just east of the Arizona State Capitol complex in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. The gun's plaque states that it was not on the ship during the Pearl Harbor attack, but was being relined for mounting on the battleship Nevada. It is paired with a gun from the battleship Missouri to represent the start and end of the Pacific War for the United States. Other artifacts from the ship, such as items from the ship's silver service, are on permanent exhibit in the Arizona State Capitol Museum.

Every two years the Navy awards "The USS Arizona Memorial Trophy" to the ship, determined by the Chief of Naval Operations, to have achieved the highest combat readiness in Strike warfare, Surface Fire Support and Anti-Surface warfare. The 3-foot-tall (0.91 m) bronze trophy on a black marble base was provided to the Navy by the citizens of the state of Arizona on 7 December 1987.

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