Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles by Tanya Lee Stone
From Miss Caroline at Main
Set against the backdrop of the early to mid-1940s, this is the true story of a group of black servicemen who were serving in the military like their white counterparts with the Service Company of The Parachute School (TPS) out of Fort Benning, Georgia. Unlike the white paratroopers, however, they were not put into the actual paratrooper training program, but were assigned to patrol and guard the facility.
Although the men were good at doing the job assigned to them, they were left without a real purpose, and felt like they had more to offer than the assigned service duties like driving trucks, cooking, doing laundry, guarding facilities, or unloading cargo. Tanya Lee Stone’s book Courage Has No Color offers an untold history of these men.
As one soldier said: “It is hard to identify one’s self with fighting a war, when all one does is dig ditches.” And so begins the journey of these men who wanted an opportunity to contribute to the war in a meaningful way. They wanted “to act like soldiers, not servants.” The men then began to secretly train and do the same exercises the white paratroopers were doing and morale began to go up. Surprisingly, the commanding officers not only allowed the training to continue when they were found out, but they authorized the creation of an all-black unit of paratroopers: the 555th (Triple Nickles) Parachute Infantry Company.
The story goes on to document and tell of the hardship and discrimination the Triple Nickles faced during integration and training. The Triple Nickles persevered and went on to become highly trained and ready paratroopers. Although they didn’t face active combat, they became smokejumpers, receiving training from the Forest Service and jumping from airplanes to combat wildfires on America’s west coast. Two years after the Japanese surrendered, the Triple Nickles were eventually integrated into the 82nd Airborne, as the 3rd Batallion of the 505th Parachute Infantry Brigade, finally achieving their goal to become not just black soldiers, but American soldiers.
This is a fascinating look at one of the lesser-known groups of men to train and serve in the military in World War II, and would be a great pairing with a look at either the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II, or the Buffalo Soldiers of the Spanish American War. Full of interesting stories and factual information, this is truly nonfiction at it’s finest!
Did you know that author Tanya Lee Stone also won the Sibert Medal for Almost Astronauts: The True Story of the “Mercury 13″ Women in 2010? We also have 20 other books written by the author in our catalog, with topics ranging from the story of Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor, to famous Americans like Abraham Lincoln, Amelia Earhart, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.