Deidra McGee holds the award she was given by the Triple Nickles Association. Photo credit: US Forest Service
It’s been a busy few months for the Triple Nickles, the U.S. Forest Service’s first African-American smoke jumping crew. On Aug. 6 of this year a member of the crew who was the first recorded death of a hot shot wildland firefighter was posthumously honored at his gravesite that was recently found after a long search.
Seventy years ago, Pfc. Malvin L. Brown of the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion known as the Triple Nickles, died while serving his country. Because of the racism prevalent in the segregated U.S military of the 1940s, Brown wasn’t given a burial with the honors he had earned. Read more »
L to R: U.S. Army Sgt. Clarence H. Beavers, Triple Nickles' Association President Joe Murchison, Smokey Bear, 2nd Lt. Walter Morris and Lt. Col. Roger S. Walden visited the U. S. Forest Service in Washington, D. C., March 26, 2010.
In the summer of 1945, a group of African-American paratroopers for the U.S. Army became smokejumpers assigned to a special Forest Service mission known as “Operation Firefly.” Also known as the Triple Nickles, they represented the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion for colored soldiers who set out to make a jump for change.
Two of these valiant, pioneering men recently passed away or “took their last jump” as the Triple Nickles Association likes to say.
Lt. Col. Roger S. Walden, 91, took his last jump on Sept. 17. Walden will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. Second Lt. Walter Morris, 92, took his last jump on Oct. 13 and was memorialized on Oct. 19 in Palm Coast, Fla. Read more »