Story by Sgt. Josiah Pugh
CAMP MABRY, Texas – The Texas Military Forces welcomed its incoming commander Saturday during a change-of-command ceremony held at Camp Mabry in Austin.
Maj. Gen. Jose S. Mayorga relinquished command after nearly two years of dutiful service. Nichols assumed duties as the new adjutant general of Texas, following two years as the assistant adjutant general (Air) and commander, Texas Air Guard.
“I’m humbled by being able to serve people every day,” said Nichols, “and be able to devote my career to your careers, your lives and your families.”
U.S. Senator for Texas John Cornyn took part in the ceremony, passing the flag for the Texas Military Forces from the outgoing to the incoming commander.
“You have my commitment to fight for whatever you need, and our men and women in uniform need, as well as their families,” said Cornyn, “so that you can continue to remain a great credit to our state and contributor to our nation’s security.”
Mayorga expressed his gratitude toward his troops, saying, “Thank you for your service to our state of Texas and to our United Sates. You represent a very small segment of our society and are truly a remarkable group of individuals. You are the very best our state and our nation have to offer.”
Mayorga leaves command after leading Texas service members in more than 160,000 man-days of defense and support through hurricane relief, flood response and emergency disaster missions.
“Without your dedication and devotion,” said Mayorga to his formation, “we could not be successful in providing ready-trained forces for homeland support of civil authorities, homeland security missions or overseas contingency operations to both of our commanders in chief, the governor of Texas and the president of the United States.”
As commander of the Texas Air National Guard, Nichols was responsible for almost 3,500 Air National Guardsmen through out the state of Texas. He served his country loyally as a pilot with the U.S. Air Force and continues to serve his community as a member of the Air Force Association, National Guard Association of the United States, National Guard Association of Texas and the Association of Graduates of the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Nichols earned a bachelor's degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo,, where he graduated from Squadron Officer School, Air Command and Staff College, Air War College, and U.S. Air Force Fighter Weapons Instructor School at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.
As a command pilot with more than 3,000 hours in a fighter aircraft, he held a series of distinguished assignments. While on active duty, Nichols joined the Wisconsin Air National Guard in 1992. At Madison, he was the chief of Wing Weapons, the 176 FS Operations officer and the 115 FW Operations Group commander. Nichols joined the Texas Air National Guard in April of 2000. He served as the vice commander of the 149th Fighter Wing from April 2000 to March 2002.
Nichols was promoted to Maj. Gen. on Jan. 19, coinciding with his selection as successor to Mayorga.
Nichols highlighted his priority in taking care of his troops, saying, “our first task in the Texas Military Forces is going to be our soldiers, our airmen, our civilians and our families.”