November 10, 1944
William Flynt Nichols served in the U.S. House of Representatives for two decades. The decorated war veteran, civic leader, businessman and former Alabama lawmaker was dedicated to military veterans and defense policy. He was known for co-authoring the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986, which reformed the U.S. military’s command structure. Born in 1919 on a small farm near Becker, Mississippi, Nichols moved with his family to Sylacauga as an infant. He played football at the Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University) and participated in military officer training. He entered the Army in 1942 as a second lieutenant during World War II, serving as a gunnery officer. On Nov. 10, 1944, he was critically wounded by a mine and his left leg was amputated above the knee. Nichols died of a heart attack at his office in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 13, 1988. The following year, the Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs named its state veterans home in Alexander City after Nichols, who helped secure funding for the facility.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
William Nichols poses in the Hurtgen Forest in Germany. As a gunnery officer in the Eighth Infantry Division of the U.S. Army, Nichols took part in the Battle of Hurtgen Forest in the winter of 1944 and was wounded on Nov. 10, losing part of his left leg as a result. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photo courtesy of Archives and Special Collections, Auburn University Libraries)
Alabama congressman William Flynt Nichols (1918-1988) poses with actor and singer Jim Nabors in his office in Washington, D.C., in this photo from May 1970. Both men were born and raised in Sylacauga. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photo courtesy of Special Collections and Archives, Auburn University Libraries)
Representative William Flynt Nichols (second from right) attends a ribbon-cutting ceremony for an Armed Forces Day Open House at Anniston Army Depot on May 17, 1975. Throughout his congressional career, Nichols worked to support the military and veterans’ causes. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, photo courtesy of Special Collections and Archives, Auburn University Libraries)
The Bill Nichols State Veterans Home, located in Alexander City, opened in November 1989. It was named for Alabama congressman William F. “Bill” Nichols to honor his many years of advocacy for veterans. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, Alabama Department of Veterans Affairs)
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.