The first European General, Wickberg was born in Switzerland in 1904. He was fluent in Swedish, German, French and English and a gifted chess player, once defeating the Swiss national champion.
Wickberg was commissioned as an officer in 1925. He served variously in pastoral, training and administrative duties throughout the United Kingdom and Europe and as Chief of the Staff. Wickberg was elected General on 23 July 1969 with the needed two-thirds majority on the first ballot. He assumed command on 21 September.
The great influence of Wickberg's Generalship - as the first non Anglo-Saxon General - was the empowering of local leadership. By placing locals in charge of The Salvation Army's work in their own countries, Wickberg strengthened The Salvation Army's multiracial and multinational character.
Wickberg retired in 1974 and died in 1996, aged 92.