Fred Nicholas was drafted into the Army on October 9, 1941, while he was in his senior year at USC School of Journalism at the age of 21.

He was assigned to Camp Roberts for infantry training, which was interrupted by the declaration of war on December 7, 1941. He was then assigned to a Military Police unit stationed in San Francisco which was ordered to round up and imprison people of Japanese descent in a relocation camp located at Tanforan Race Track in San Bruno, California. Fred was a guard at the relocation camp for four months and celebrated his 22nd birthday on guard duty.*

Nicholas attended officers training camp at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia and was promoted to the rank of Second Lieutenant on October 9, 1942, one year from the date he was drafted into the Army.

Nicholas spent more than two and a half years overseas, serving in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, Southern France and the Philippines. He rose to the rank of Captain and served as a platoon leader and company commander until his discharge in February 1946. He was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

* More than 37 years later, Fred and his lifelong partner Maurice O. (Hap) Smith bought Tanforan Race Track and built a shopping center on the site.

Project List