In this last week of #BlackHistoryMonth a short thread on The Triple Nickels and their secret World War II Mission called "Operation Firefly".
The 555th Parachute Infantry Company (Triple Nickels) was activated as a result of a recommendation made by the Committee on Negro Troop Policies.

The 555th was to be an all Black unit, comprised of both officer & enlisted men.

On 19 December 1943, the company was activated.
After training, they were assigned a secret mission known only as Operation Firefly.

As they boarded flights headed for the west coast, they thought they may be headed to Japan.

But they werent headed to the Pacific. Nor did they fight in Europe.

They went, instead, to Oregon.
Their war would be fought not with guns or bombs, but with parachutes, saws, shovels and water.
At the time, the Japanese were employing a balloon bomb against the United States.

More than 9,000 Fu-Go balloon bombs targeted fire-prone California, Oregon, Idaho & Montana.

Their goal was to burn the whole West Coast, causing panic & diverting attention away from the war.
To conceal these attacks from the public, their mission was kept secret.

From Pendleton Field, they were briefed on Operation Firefly.

They would train with the Forest Service & become the military’s first smokejumpers; deactivating balloon bombs & putting out wildfires.
Over the course of their tasking, the 555th participated in 40 fire missions with more than 1,200 individual jumps.
Following this mission, the Unit was transferred back east.

Over the next few years, in part because of their success in Operation Firefly, black paratroopers were transferred to units throughout the 82d Airborne Division, making it the first integrated division in the US Army.
These soldiers, comprising the nation’s first all-black parachute infantry and the first military smokejumpers in U.S. history, are literal trailblazers.

Their courage & dedication saved lives and paved the way for greater military integration.

Their story is worth sharing.
The Triple Nickels.

For the Airborne. For us all.

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More from @GreggFavre

16 Jan
Two years ago today @USNavy Senior Chief Shannon Kent was killed by a suicide bomber in Syria.

Kent, a wife, mother of 2 & a member of our IWO Community, spoke 7 languages, had multiple combat deployments w/ SEALs, survived cancer & was working towards her PhD.

We remember her.
She won awards being a top human intelligence collector and linguist across FIVE combat deployments.

She ran a 3:30 marathon.

She was a code breaker.

She was the noncommissioned officer in charge at the National Security Agencys operations directorate.

She was the best of us.
Shannon was the first and only (to date) enlisted Sailor to have their memorial service at the Naval Academy Chapel.

Thousands attended.

nytimes.com/2019/02/15/mag…
Read 5 tweets
28 Jun 20
A public safety thread:

A man is out fishing & sees a person float by flailing in distress. He jumps in, saves them. He sees another. Saves them. A 3rd. Then another. Another. Another.

Too many to save.

Exhausted, he exclaims "Will someone go up the river & try to stop this?!"
Public safety is where the overwhelming majority of people connect with their government.

It is where the rubber meets the road.

It is also where decades of political and policy failures - in education, in EcoDevo, in health care, etc - manifest.
Let me be clear: We have *SO* much work that needs to be done in public safety.

On here/in articles/in agencies I am vocal about real, structural changes to how we address issues in our communities.

We must strive every single day to build more equitable, transparent services.
Read 8 tweets
6 Mar 20
As an emergency manager...

As someone who has published on scientific literacy, public trust & social group dynamics...

As someone who has studies with some of the finest minds in public health...

Speaking only for myself, here is what scares me about #COVID.

(Short thread)
The #COVID19 discussions is largely centered on the who, what and why of those infected.

That’s a data point, but not the story.

The story is the is the potential severity of the disruption beyond those infected.

And it has the potential to be significant.
There is potential for significant economic, workforce & education disruptions.

We are already seeing this in some regions. Companies implementing work from home or slowing production. Conferences canceled. Students home from school.

Its reasonable to expect this continues.
Read 6 tweets
20 Feb 20
Big thanks to @fireengineering & @jasonhoevelmann for having me on last night to talk about certifications & education in the fire service & having a seat at the decision making table.

The smart, tough leaders I mentioned were @ThielAdam, @CFDstlfd @Firefrank76 & @SGFFireChief.
For all in firefighting that bemoan formal study of the craft they've committed their life to, Chief Layman's 1953 words should be sobering.
The job has never been more complicated. The complexity & interconnectivity of science, emotion, skill & fortitude demand diverse skillsets.

Experience & formal education are not diametrically opposed qualities. You can be "tough" AND "smart". Moreover, that mix is preferred.
Read 4 tweets
1 Nov 19
I’m headed to my friend’s wake.

(A short thread.)
In the mid 90s I worked construction the 4 summers during high school. I met Dick Decker my first day.

Born in the 1920s, still swinging a hammer. A former Marine, he took a young kid under his wing on big, tough job sites.

He showed me both job site skills & life skills.
One of the first days I worked with him I dug a ditch for 8 hours. At the end of the day I threw the shovel back in the back of the truck, dirty.

He pulled it out, looked me in the eye and said “‘round here we take pride in our work & care of our tools. Get this cleaned up.”
Read 7 tweets
10 Oct 19
A short thread:

I havent shared this here, because, well… but I think its worth it on #WorldMentalHealthDay. Not for sympathy, but for awareness.

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Like me, he was a career 1st responder. He had been retired for less than 90 days.
In his case, as in many cases, its evident that his decision rested at a confluence of emotions, not all of them understood.

What is known is that he was having a difficult time w/ retirement. As he saw it, his purpose -his ability to take care of the public/his crew- was over.
As I have spent the past few weeks thinking about his life and his death, two things strike me...
Read 13 tweets

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