World War II was raging, with thousands of American soldiers fighting overseas against the injustices brought on by Hitler. Back on the home front, the injustice of discrimination against African Americans was playing out as much on Main Street as in the military. Enlisted black men were segregated from white soldiers and regularly relegated to service duties.
At Fort Benning, Georgia, First Sergeant Walter Morris’s men served as guards at The Parachute School while the white soldiers prepared to be paratroopers. Morris knew that in order for his men to be treated like soldiers, they would have to train and act like them, but would the military elite and politicians recognize the potential of these men, as well as their passion for serving their country? Tanya Lee Stone examines the role of African Americans in the military through the lens of the untold story of the Triple Nickles as they became America’s first black paratroopers and fought a little-known World War II attack on the American West by the Japanese. The 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, in the words of Morris, “proved that the color of a man had nothing to do with his ability.”
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- Maphil N Belfon-Ellie