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Command Biography
HMH-461 Commanding Officer
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas L. Nicholson

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas L. Nicholson is a native of Fayetteville, North Carolina. He was commissioned in May 2005 upon graduation from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. After completing The Basic School, Second Lieutenant Nicholson reported for Naval Flight Training at NAS Pensacola, Florida, and while awaiting Aviation Preflight Indoctrination (API), he augmented the staff of 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, North Carolina where he served as an Assistant Instructor for International Special Forces Training Course 2-06 until August 2006. 

Upon designation as naval aviator in March 2008, First Lieutenant Nicholson reported to MCAS New River, North Carolina for initial training in the CH-53E at Marine Helicopter Training Squadron 302 (HMT-302). Following designation as a CH-53E Helicopter Second Pilot in September 2008, he received orders to Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 366 (HMH-366) at MCAS Cherry Point, NC where he was a “plank owner” and held numerous billets including: S-4, S-6, Detachment Assistant Aircraft Maintenance Officer, Flight Line Division Officer, Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI), Assistant Operations Officer, and Operations Officer. He deployed with HMH-366 Detachment A in support of OIF 9.2, with HMH-361 (-)(REIN) in support of OEF 10.2, and with HMH-466 (-)(REIN) in support of OEF 12.1. 

Following his departure from HMH-366 in June 2013, Captain Nicholson reported to Expeditionary Warfare School in Quantico Virginia, graduating in May 2014 as a distinguished graduate.

In July 2014, Captain Nicholson reported to 2d Marine Regiment for duty as the Assistant Air Officer and subsequently deployed with 2d Marine Regiment as the Command Element for Special Purpose MAGTF-Crisis Response-Africa 15.1 from January 2015 to August 2015. In addition to his duties as Assistant Air Officer, Major Nicholson served as lead planner for numerous large-scale exercises including the Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa validation of Cooperative Security Location Libreville, Gabon from May to July 2015. He was promoted and subsequently assigned as the regiment’s Assistant Operations Officer, serving in that capacity until July 2016. 

Major Nicholson reported to MAG-29 in July 2016 for duty as the Current Operations Officer, and in August 2016, he returned to HMH-366 to serve as the Assistant Operations Officer. While at HMH-366, Major Nicholson completed the Command and Staff College Blended Seminar Program as a distinguished graduate. In November 2016, he assumed duties as HMH-366 Operations Officer and served in that capacity until December 2017 when he reported to Marine Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron One (VMX-1) for duty as the CH-53 Detachment Operations Officer and a CH-53 Operational Test Director. 

In July 2019, Major Nicholson reported to the Department of Aviation, Headquarters Marine Corps for duty as the Aviation Plans, Programs, and Budget Branch (later the Cunningham Group) Assault Support Operations and Plans Coordinator. He was promoted to his present rank in July 2020, and departed HQMC Aviation in June 2021 and reported to MAG-29 where he served as Transition Coordinator and CH-53 Naval Aviation Enterprise Current Readiness Action Officer.

Lieutenant Colonel Nicholson’s personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal with gold star in lieu of second award, Strike/Flight Air Medal with Bronze Numeral 11, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with three gold stars in lieu of fourth award, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Army Achievement Medal.

2nd Marine Aircraft Wing