An Archon book
Grades 6-up
1986
xiv, 92 p., illus.
Paper, 0-208-02402-6
$17.50

 “A must-read for all of us who are a part of black history.” — Ebony

 “A taut, brief, modest, and remarkably dispassionate unit history cum memoir.”
Washington Post Book World

 “For black Americans, World War II was two wars. . . . Although these first black paratroops rode in the back of buses, were kept segregated  from their white peers, and on one occasion were bombed by an American B-29 squadron, the Nickles never lost faith in a country that had little faith in them.”
N.Y. Times Sunday Book Review

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The Triple Nickles

America's First All-Black Paratroop Unit

by Bradley Biggs, Lt. Col. USA (Ret.)

The “Triple Nickles” was the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, and America’s first African-American paratroop unit. Integrated after World War II into the 82d Airborne Division by Gen. James Gavin, the Nickles (as they spelled it) had spent the war years in a segregated army that ordinarily allowed African Americans only the noncombatant jobs of support staff.  The Nickles, however, were a crack unit officered by African Americans. Although they never saw the overseas combat they trained for, they made a huge contribution to the armed services in any number of ways.

Author Bradley Biggs, the first black officer accepted for parachute duty in the U.S. Army, tells the true story of the Triple Nickles simply and directly: how they dealt with what they suffered in a racist society, and what they gave back. It is a story of many determined and accomplished men who just didn’t quit. By perfecting themselves and concentrating on their main mission, the Nickles made their own respect and came out on top.


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