Military Wiki
Clarence Hylan Beavers
Sergeant Clarence H. Beavers
Born (1921-06-12)June 12, 1921
Died December 4, 2017(2017-12-04) (aged 96)
Place of birth New York City
Place of death Huntington, New York
Place of burial Calverton National Cemetery
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Army seal United States Army
Years of service 1941–1945
Rank US Army WWII SGT.svg Sergeant
Unit 555th PIR.png 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion

World War II

  • Operation Firefly

Clarence Hylan Beavers (June 12, 1921 - December 4, 2017) was an American United States Army sergeant and paratrooper who served with the first all black airborne unit, the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, during World War II. He was part of the groundbreaking group of black paratroopers assigned to the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion also known as the "Triple Nickles" and later "Smoke Jumpers" at Fort Benning in Georgia.[1]

During the 1940s, army posts in the south were largely segregated. Beavers later told stories about how members of the unit were not allowed to use the post exchange or mess hall, a privilege even Italian and German prisoners of war being held there were allowed.[1] [2]:52–53 [3][4]

The unit served stateside, mostly on the West Coast, protecting against Japanese fire balloons, which were described as the world’s first intercontinental-range airborne weapons — giant bomb-laden balloons launched from Japan and aimed at North America.

Beavers died on December 4, 2017 at his home in Huntington, Long Island of a coronary related illness.[1][5] He was 96 and interred at Calverton National Cemetery.[1][6]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Roberts, Sam (13 December 2017). "Clarence Beavers, Last of a Black Paratroop Unit, Dies at 96". 
  2. Thompson, Antonio (2010). Men in German Uniform: POWs in America during World War II. University of Tennessee Press. ISBN 1572337281. 
  3. Hogan, Samantha (2013-10-21). "Walter Morris, original member of all-black 555th Army Parachute Battalion, dies at 92" (in en-US). Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. 
  4. Killen, John (2017-12-29). "Clarence Beavers, last of the original Triple Nickles, dies" (in en-US). Oregonian/OregonLive. ISSN 8750-1317. 
  5. Smith, Harrison (2017-12-11). "Clarence Beavers, pioneering black paratrooper and smoke jumper, dies at 96" (in en-US). Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. 
  6. Eidler, Scott (2017-12-10). "Clarence H. Beavers, last of WWII paratrooper pioneers, dies" (in en-US). Newsday. ISSN 0278-5587. 

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