Vincent Manford Dickerson was born in El Reno, Oklahoma, on November 9, 1918, son of Manford and Iva Stephens Dickerson. He attended Central State College in Edmond, Oklahoma, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and Education in 1939. Thereafter for three years, he was a teacher in public schools, the last two years n Luther, Oklahoma. From June to September 1941 he was a student at the US Naval Reserve Midshipman School, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, and on September 12, 1941, was commissioned Ensign, DVG, USNR. Through subsequent advancement and his transfer to the US Navy from the Naval Reserve, he attained the rank of Captain, to date from January1, 1961.
Prior to his period of instruction at the Midshipmen School, he had a month’s training as Apprentice Seaman, USNR, on board USS New York, in November and December 1940. He began his officer service at the US Naval Training Station, Great Lakes, Illinois, in the Recruit Training Department, where he was on duty at the outbreak of World War II in December 1941. After detachment in March 1942, he served as an Instructor and Commanding Officer at the USNR Midshipman School, Notre Dame University, Indiana, until September of that year.
After a month’s instruction in Fire Control at the Naval Gun Factory, Navy Yard, Washington, DC, he reported in November 1942 on board USS Charles Ausburne (DD-570), in which he served from her commissioning as Assistant Gunnery Officer and later Gunnery Officer. He was Gunnery Officer of USS Izard (DD-589) from January 1944 until February 1945, during which he participated in numerous operations in the Pacific Combat Area, including Asiatic-Pacific raids, and operations in the Gilbert, Marshall, Marianas, Western Carolines Lete and Luzon Islands, and in Hollandia and Western New Guinea.
In February 1945 he became Executive Officer of USS Flusser (DD-368) and continued duty in that capacity throughout the remaining months of the war. He took, part, during that period, in the consolidation of the Philippines; the Palawan Islands landings and Visayan Island and Mindanao Island landings; and the Manila Bay-Bicol operation (Nasugbu). “For heroic achievement as Executive Officer, Navigator and Combat Information Evaluator of USS Flusser, in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Southwest Pacific Area…” he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, with Combat “V.” The citation further states:
“Displaying great professional skill, Lieutenant Commander Dickerson navigated through mined waters under most trying conditions while his ship was escorting large convoys and, during seven amphibious landings, directed accurate gunfire against enemy installations. His initiative, courage and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”
Detached from USS Flusser in March 1946, he served for six months as Executive Officer of USS H. E. Hubbard (DD-748), then commanded that new destroyer from September 1946 until February 1947. In March of that year he joined the Staff of Commander Destroyer Squadron FIFTEEN, as Operations and Gunnery Officer, attached to USS Fred T. Berry (DD-858), Flagship. He continued duty afloat, August 1945 until June 1949 as Commanding Officer of USS George (DE-697) and until June 1950 was a student at the General Line School, Newport, Rhode Island.
A tour of duty which extended to June 1952 as an Instructor in the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Unit at the University of Kansas proceded further sea duty as Navigator of USS Roanoke (CL-145). Assigned in April 1954 to the Navy Department, Washington, DC, he served as Assistant Coordinator, Electronic Programs, in the Office of the Vice Chief of Naval Operations until August 1957, then assumed command of USS Lowry (DD-770). Detached from the Lowry in August 1959, he was ordered to the University of Illinois at Urbana, where he was Executive Officer of the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps Unit until August 1961, then assumed command.
In July 1962 he reported as Commanding Officer of USS Royale (AD-29) and in June 1963 became Chief of Staff and Aide to Commander Cruiser-Destroyer Flotilla ELEVEN. He next had a three month tour of duty with the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Navy Department, Washington, DC, and in October 1964 was ordered to the Naval Board of Inspection and Survey, Navy Department, Washington, DC.
In addition to the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V,” Captain Dickerson has the American Defense Service Medal; American Campaign Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two silver stars and one bronze star (eleven operations); World War II Victory Medal; Navy Occupation Service Medal (Asia and Europe Clasp); China Service Medal (extended); National Defense Service Medal; and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with two stars.
Captain Dickerson is a member of Masonic Lodge #6, Lawrence, Kansas, and Scottish Rite Consistery in Lawrence; and the Abdallah Shrine Temple in Leavenworth, Kansas. In college he served a year as Class President, and was a member of Arena, Glee Club, Band and Spurs. While teaching in Luther Oklahoma, he was Band Director at the Luther High School.
He died June 25, 1970.