TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. - After 47 years of combined service, Chief Master Sgt. Steve Nichols and Senior Master Sgt. Angell Nichols said farewell to Travis Air Force Base, California, during a double retirement ceremony, Sept. 7, 2018.
Family, friends and the Travis military and civilian community gathered together to recognize the distinguished careers of the two honored Airmen. Steve Nichols has served as the command chief for the 60th Air Mobility Wing since July 14, 2016. Angell Nichols served as squadron superintendent for the 60th Operations Support Squadron.
“Serving as the command chief in the Air Mobility Command’s crown jewel and the premier Air Mobility Wing has absolutely been my pleasure,” he said. “Although this beautiful place has really challenged me, it has made me grow. Our Airmen have amazed me every day I have come to work for the last 25 months.”
Steve Nichols was born in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, into an Air Force family. He graduated from Gwinn High School in Gwinn, Michigan, and entered the Air Force in February 1994. He began his Air Force career in security forces and later transitioned to personnel management. He has held positions at the base level, major command level, at Headquarters Air Force and at the Pentagon.
While serving at Air Force Headquarters and at the Pentagon, he was deeply involved in Air Force-wide changes to programs such as the heritage uniform, the physical fitness program and enlisted performance reports program.
As command chief for the Air Force’s largest air mobility wing, he was the primary adviser to the installation commander on matters concerning the morale, welfare, health and discipline of more than 4,100 enlisted men and women.
“Steve has impacted the lives of thousands of Airmen every day and he did so by getting out and about; turning wrenches, cooking food, cleaning latrines, walking on airplanes and, most importantly, spending time with Airmen. He learned their stories, their challenges, and affected positive change as the wing’s senior enlisted leader,” said Col. Matthew Leard, 60th Air Mobility Wing commander. “Steve’s advice and council have moved the Air Force at the highest level, impacting hundreds of thousands of Airmen across our force.
“At every level he exhausted every effort to solve challenges that face our Airmen every day,” he continued.
Angell Nichols began her career as an intelligence analyst with postings at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska and Kadena Air Base, Japan. She later cross-trained into the flight attendant career field. At Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, she was assigned as the lead flight attendant on Air Force Two for Vice President Dick Cheney.
“Travis has ended up being the most rewarding assignment of my career,” said Angell Nichols. “Although I missed flying, what I gained here is priceless; leading Airmen, meeting Airmen with Air Force Specialty Codes I only thought I knew about, getting the real deal from those Airmen doing the mission day to day.”
Angell Nichols had some final words of advice to pass on to future Airmen.
“Do the best each day, strive to be better than you were the day before and trust your leadership will take care of you,” she said. “Lastly, not just to Travis, but everywhere, find a mentor and take the advice they may offer. Without mine, I may not have been a senior master sergeant.”
Now that he's turning in his stripes to begin a new life in the civilian sector, the chief ends his story and his career with a thought for Airmen.
“Make this place better than what you found it,” he said. “Continue to do great things and lead from the front like we have done in so many areas.”