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Celebrating a storied career

LTC Barbara Nichols turns 100

The entire military community came together to celebrate LTC Barbara Nichols for her 100th birthday celebration, which was held at the Lewis Army Museum on JBLM on Aug. 19, 2022. Photo by Gary Lott

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While exiting a luxurious limousine in her walker, LTC Nichols was met with a surprise color guard salute, dozens of flags flying, fife and drums playing, large signs, balloons floating in the air, and a large crowd all awaiting her.

In a soft voice she asked, "Is this all for me?" With a surprised look on her face, she shook her head and said, "I still can't believe that I am 100 years old!"

There were more than 100 people in attendance to help honor and celebrate Retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, Barbara Nichols' 100th birthday celebration held at the Lewis Army Museum on Aug. 19, 2022.

A veteran of three wars, who now calls Lacey home, LTC Nichols first worked her way up the assembly line of Boeing to help build the first 5,000 B-17 Bombers before serving in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam where she would receive the Bronze Star for extraordinary service.

Later, at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, DC, LTC Nichols was selected as the personal nurse to President Eisenhower for an emergency surgery and she got to know both him and First Lady "Mamie" quite well.

During the large celebration, Nichols received a Women in American History Medal, a Living Legend Award - Women in Military Service for America, Washington State Governor's Letter of Birthday Greeting, a Daughter of the American Revolution Distinguished Citizen Medal, along with an official City of Lacey Proclamation honoring the day as LTC Barbara Nichols Day, and hundreds of birthday cards sent in from all over the globe.

Attendees enjoyed music throughout the event provided by the Washington National Guard's 133rd Army Band, while the Presentation of Colors was presented by the Sons & Daughters of the Revolution Color Guard with fife and drums.

But it wouldn't be a birthday without cake. All guests were served a light lunch including cake and ice cream. Guests were also invited to tour the newly renovated Lewis Army Museum.

A storied career both in and out of military service, recently saluted on the field during a Seattle Seahawks game, an avid member in the Women Veterans Advisory Committee, and a staple in the Pacific Northwest community, LTC Nichols continues to lead a legacy for all to follow.

Happy 100th to LTC Barbara Nichols!

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