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In Camp Mackall, North Carolina the first all-black parachute Infantry platoon was activated on November 25,1944. They would be called the 555th Battalion, a.k.a. “The Triple Nickles.” They were called the Triple Nickles because 17 of 20 soldiers selected from the Buffalo Soldiers 92nd Infantry in Arizona made it through the test platoon at Fort Benning. The unit’s name came from the old English spelling and identified with three buffalo nickels joined in a triangle or pyramid.

The Triple Nickles served in more airborne units during both war and peacetime than any other parachute group in history. The Triple Nickles smoke jumped into burning forests of the American northwest, searching for Japanese balloon bombs. In 1945, Private First Class Malvin L. Brown was the first smoke jumper to perish on a fire jump.

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