William Pickens III - U.S. Air Force 1958-70

William Pickens III - U.S. Air Force 1958-70

William "Bill" Pickens III studied at the University of Vermont and majored in history and political science. He was the first African American student to be elected president of the student body. He was also elected president of the Honor Society and president of the fraternity Tau Epsilon Phi.

In 1958, he joined the Air Force as a Second Lieutenant. Pickens’ position as Personnel Officer in the Air Force sent him across the world to Japan. His superior officer told him to learn Japanese so that he could handle the affairs that needed attention. He picked up the language easily and enjoyed the culture and its art.