FORT LEE, Va. (Feb. 11, 2011) -- Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2239 recognized retired Master Sgt. John Joseph Nichols of the Army's 10th Calvary Feb. 3.
This "Buffalo Solder" was inducted as a lifetime honorary member in the organization.
Born in 1935, Nichols enlisted in the Army at 17. During 1942-1944, Nichols Joe Louis and Jackie Robinson spent time together in the Calvary as Buffalo Soldiers.
"I was Joe's Little Junior," he said. "He would give me money to buy comic books. He was always good to me."
After the 10th Calvary was dismantled, Nichols joined the 92nd Infantry where he participated in combat against the Germans and the Italians. He toured Europe and quickly learned to speak German and Italian. Soon, he began translating for several of America's units overseas.
Nichols retired from the Army in 1964 and considered joining the VFW, but he wasn't accepted then because of the color of his skin.
Nichols told his new brothers and sisters, "This award is humbling. I am honored to receive it and really honored just to be here."