Nickerson Agonistes

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 11.32.12 PM

(L) Army ballistic missile expert Col. John C. Nickerson, Jr., averts his eyes as a wire service photographer captures him leaving court martial proceedings at Redstone Arsenal, in Huntsville, Alabama on June 25, 1957. Nickerson had just admitted to leaking classified rocket information to the press as part of a plea deal that saw him avoid conviction on the most serious charges leveled against him under the Espionage Act. While the deal was a coup for him, he still had to convince the court martial not to discharge him from the Army, which I think explains his less-than-pleased expression. (R) Nickerson looks no less dour two days later—June 27, 1957—as his wife, Caroline, casts him a smile. This photograph was taken just before Nickerson went before the court martial to argue that he should not be discharged from the Army, his guilty plea notwithstanding.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *