After September 11, 2001 we went to war again in Iraq in 2003. Thousands of troops are still in Iraq and Afghanistan. They’ve seen things that we’ve never seen and they’ve protected us from it. Millions of them have brought their struggles, physical and mental, home and they’re living with us. We want to honor them by understanding them.
Sgt. James Nickelson grew up in Munhall, Pa. He’s a graduate of Steel Valley High School class of 1998. He immediately enlisted into the United States Army and served through 2012. Sgt. Nickelson was assigned to the 2nd Calvary Regiment in Bavaria, Germany before deploying to Iraq in 2007. He was on a primary security detachment team and quick reaction force in charge of combat communications.
Sgt. Nickelson’s amputation of his left leg, though not a result of direct fire in Iraq, is a result of extensive stress and wear on his bones from combat movement and complications of surgery.
Now living at home as a veteran soldier with a prosthetic leg and moderate to severe PTSD, he continues to serve by dedicating his free time helping the civilian population understand not just the visible, but also the invisible injuries troops suffer when coming home.
Sgt. Nickelson also models his new mission to live on by continuing to be involved as a civilian. Including riding with his amputation in the Marine Corp Marathon, running multiple 5K races in the Pittsburgh region, qualifying for the Tampa Bay Swat team and participated in multiple non-profit organizations helping vets, including Operation Troop Appreciation.
Sgt. James Nickelson, also known as “Uncle Jungle Jim” is also the father of a 15 year old daughter, who was his inspiration when he was living through his experience in war and still is today.