TRIBUTE TO LT. COL. WILLIAM JOHN NICHOLS, U.S. AIR FORCE
HON. LARRY COMBEST
in the House of Representatives
THURSDAY, MARCH 28, 1996
- Mr. COMBEST. Mr. Speaker, I rise to recognize the dedication, public service, and patriotism of Lt. Col. William John Nichols, U.S. Air Force, on the occasion of his retirement after a career of faithful service to our Nation. Col. John Nichols' strong commitment to excellence will leave a lasting impact on the vitality of our modern warfighters, commanding admiration and respect from his military colleagues and Members of Congress.
- Colonel Nichols, a 1977 graduate of Cornell University and the Reserve Officer Training Corps, is serving his last day of a 15-month assignment as the special assistant for space, command, control, communications, and intelligence , and special operations programs, with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs.
- Colonel Nichols' first duty assignment was to the 6931st Electronic Security Squadron, Iraklion Air Station, Crete, Greece, as a flight commander, from April 1978 through July 1980. John was then sent to Osan Air Base, Korea, where he headed intelligence collection operations in support of U.S. Forces in Korea. He was also responsible for U-2 intelligence collection operations during this 1-year remote assignment. In August 1981, John was reassigned to Headquarters Electronic Security Command in San Antonio, TX, where he managed tactical intelligence collection assets. Next Colonel Nichols was assigned to 13th Air Force at Clark Air Base, Philippines, from January 1983 to October 1984, where he was responsible for electronic combat programs throughout the Pacific region. In this capacity, John orchestrated the first ever involvement of electronic combat and intelligence assets into Cope Thunder air combat training exercises.
- Colonel Nichols was next assigned as detachment commander for the 6947th Electronic Security Squadron in Key West, FL, where he led a 70-person intelligence operation providing key support to operations in the Caribbean Basin. After almost 3 years in this position John was assigned to RAF Mildenhall, England, in July 1987 as the operations officer for the 6988th Electronic Security Squadron. In this job he led a 200-person RC-135 airborne reconnaissance operation in support of theater and national intelligence collection requirements. In July 1990, he was reassigned to Air University in Alabama where he was a distinguished graduate and top performer at Air Command Staff College and where he earned a master of airpower art and science degree as a student in the first class of the School of Advanced Airpower Studies.
- In July 1992, Colonel Nichols was assigned to the intelligence staff at Headquarters U.S. Air Force in the Pentagon. He quickly moved to the Air Force Secretariat where he was assigned to the Office of Legislative Affairs. After serving for a year and a half in this capacity he moved to the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs where he ably represented the Department of Defense on important intelligence issues until his retirement today. John's support of the Congress and in particular to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence , which I chair, has been commendable. We understand the importance of the challenges imposed by legislative liaison. Colonel Nichols met them with frankness and aplomb. His expertise will truly be missed.
- Colonel Nichol's military awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal, the Aerial Achievement Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Air Force Achievement Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the South West Asia Service Medal with campaign star, and several unit commendations and service ribbons. John is married and resides with his wife Wil and daughters Sarah and Rachel In Woodbridge, VA.
- Our Nation, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Air Force, and his family can truly be proud of the colonel's many accomplishments. A man of extraordinary talent and integrity is rare indeed. While his honorable service will be genuinely missed in the Department of Defense, it gives me great pleasure to recognize Col. John Nichols before my colleagues and wish him all of our best wishes in his new and exciting career.