Oldest living nurse in the spotlight

Lacey veteran Barbara Nichols visits Seahawks practice before raising 12 Flag

By Gary Lott on November 22, 2017

The Legion of Boom added another "Sherman" to the bunch during their Friday practice Nov. 17.

Incredibly enough, having a M4A1 Medium Sherman tank and a U.S. flag flown on the Landing Craft, Tank (LCT) 595 June 6, 1944, during D-Day just feet away from an official Seattle Seahawks practice wasn't the biggest presence felt that day.

A spry, 95 years young Lt. Col. Barbara Nichols visited the Seahawks at practice before embarking upon another big moment in raising the 12 flag during Monday Night's Primetime matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons.

Nichols recalls her experience at practice as "an honor" to meet the players and coaches that, "I see on TV all the time."

There was little debate, the honor belonged to every other individual standing on the same field as Nichols that day.

Right after practice concluded, with her jacket off on a cold, windy afternoon and standing straight up with a provided transportation wheelchair pushed aside, Nichols energetically stood at the end of the practice field in full uniform, greeting every player and coach as they came off the field.

Almost every player made sure to receive a handshake or hug and thank Nichols for her historic and one-of-a-kind service record.

Nichols served in three wars as a member of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps and is currently the oldest living military nurse in the United States.

She worked at Boeing assembling B-17 bombers, is a Bronze Star recipient and served in World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam.

With this historic and widely impressive military career under her belt, Nichols seemingly overshadowed the well-known professional athletes as being the subject of admiration after practice.

"Everyone was completely in awe when reading and hearing about her story," said Seahawks Director of Corporate Communications, Suzanne Lavendar.  "She is just truly an amazing woman and what an honor getting to meet her!"

Seahawks' head coach Pete Carroll surprised Nichols with her own personalized jersey, which she wore again on Monday while raising the 12 Flag in front of more than 60,000 screaming fans.

"So special to have Lt. Col. Barbara Nichols and a Sherman Tank with us at practice today!" Coach Pete Carrol wrote later that day on his Twitter social media account.

Nichols met, yet another, milestone as the first-ever female veteran to raise the 12 flag during a Seahawks game.

The Nov. 20 game was the Seahawks' annual NFL Salute to Service game, where the home team specifically honors veterans and their families before, during and after the game.

It was one of the latest honors for Nichols, but understandably will be far from the most memorable one for a woman who once served as a nurse to President Dwight D. Eisenhower at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

"I saw a lot, I was in the three wars -- Korea, Vietnam and World War II," said Nichols to Seahawks reporters during her visit to training camp, "World War II was different, no one had heard of the Cadet Nurse Corps. I worked at Boeing, President (Franklin D.) Roosevelt started the Cadet Nurse Corps because they needed nurses for World War II, so I joined, got three years training in Everett General hospital, became an RN. Then I went on active-duty and went right to Korea. I did Korea, then the next thing was Vietnam, that was the hardest one to do. Really hard. But survived that one."

Remarkably there appears to be nothing that this woman can't do and even at 95 years young, she still continues to meet, create and survive even more milestones.