Byron Nichols earned Bronze Star for his work in G2

Published 2:09 pm Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Byron Nichols enlisted in the Navy in 1943 and upon completion of basic training, reported to the USS Solomons [CVE 67]. Solomons was an escort carrier built by Kaiser Shipbuilders in Vancouver, WA. Byron and his shipmates serving on these type ships, referred to them as “Kaiser’s Coffins”, because they were built on Victory ship hulls, with very little armor and almost no water-tight protection. Most of Byron’s time aboard the Solomons was spent in the S. Atlantic, searching for U Boats. At the end of WWII, Byron was discharged but after his brother was killed in Korea, he enlisted in the Army. After training in Army Intelligence, Byron became an intelligence officer. He spent over a year in Viet Nam, serving in G2, Army Intelligence. He operated mostly in the Highlands of Viet Nam, working with the local tribesmen called Montagnards. He learned Vietnamese, but said the local dialects of the Montagnards always gave him trouble. His work with the Montagnards brought him very close to those loyal fighters. One Chief took such a liking to Byron that he offered him one of his 20 wives. After much diplomatic conversation, Byron was able to decline the offer gracefully. For his work with G2, Nichols received the Bronze Star. He retired as a Major. Byron married Betty Smith in 1998. They lived in Andalusia until 2018. They currently live in Enterprise.