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New Monument Honors First Black Paratrooper Unit

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FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — The Airborne and Special Operations Museum is home to another piece of military history.

Members of Fort Bragg's 505th paid tribute to the retired soldiers of the 555th on Saturday.

The Triple Nickles, as the 555th was called, made up the first Black paratrooper unit, back in 1943. The unit helped lead theArmy to integration.

Three members of the unit were on hand Saturday, when The Black Test Platoon monument was unveiled.

The monument lists the names of the original members of the Triple Nickles.

Even though its members received the silver wings of qualified parachutists in 1944, the 555th wasn't deployed for war. Instead,it was sent to fight forest fires in the northwestern United States.

The unit was reactivated in December 1947 as the Third Battalion of the 505th Airborne Infantry Regiment in the 82nd AirborneDivision. It became the first black unit to become part of an American combat division.

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