Gary George Nichols

Sergeant Major
United States Army, Special Forces (Retired)

I was born March 1941, second in a family of nine children, to George H. and Marcella A. (Forney) Nichols, in the Town of Campbell (French Island) suburb of La Crosse, Wisconsin. As a child, I spent summers working farms, and winters as a pin setter at a bowling alley and rack boy at a pool-hall. I attended local schools (Jefferson Grade), and graduated (Logan High) in 1959. My interest in the U.S. Army and girls, (my first true love Barbara Jenks) occurred at age twelve.

At 18, Jerry Hansen, a close friend and I, took a cross country trip to California under the pretext of seeking employment. Still unemployed in February of 1960, we visited the local recruiter (draft was in affect) and I enlisted for three years. I completed Basic Training at Fort Riley, KS, and then attended a 60 week Machinist Course at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD. From there, I was assigned to the 538th Engineer Co. in Korea.

During 1963-1964, I served with the 333rd Artillery Bn. (Red stone), and as fire direction controller with the 2/2 Artillery (OCS), both units at Fort Sill, OK.

In the latter part of 1964, I was back in Korea as NCOIC of the machine/welding/sheet metal section of Ascom Army Depot.

Early in 1965, I was assigned to the 763 Transport Transportation Bn. at Fort Eustis, VA, as a machinist. In the summer of that year, I went for Basic Airborne Training at Fort Benning, GA, and then on to Fort Bragg for Special Forces training. By January 1966, I had qualified in a Weapons MOS, received Vietnamese pre-deployment training, and had orders for Vietnam.

In early March 1966, I arrived at the 5th Special Forces Group Headquarters in Nha Trang, Republic of Vietnam, and took up housing in tent city. After in-processing, I was taken to Project Delta, Detachment B-52, for a mandatory briefing (Delta was looking for volunteers). After the briefing, SSG Eugene Moreau and I stayed. Moreau was later killed on a recon mission during his 6th month in the Project. I remained in Project Delta from March of 1966 until April of 1970. I worked two years in Delta's Reconnaissance Section; Six months with the Rangers; and one and a half years as the NCOIC of the Road Runner element.

When Delta closed out, I transferred to MACV-SOG, where I worked as Operative, Agent Handler, and Operations Sergeant from April 1970 until April 1972. I then received orders for B Co. 2nd Bn, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Devens, MA and remained there until May 1976. While there, I worked on the SCUBA Team, and then from 1973 to 1976, as Team Sergeant of A-221 (Mountaineering).

In 1976, I transferred to the University of Oklahoma at Norman, as Training Advisor to the ROTC Battalion. I left there in 1978 for (Spanish American) language school at the Presidio of Monterey in California; and was further assigned to B Co. 3rd Bn, 7th Special Forces Group, Fort Gulick, Panama; where from 1978-1981 I served as Team Sergeant of A-II (Leaper Colony) and later S2/S3 NCOIC of Task Force Hawk, Atlantic.

In November 1981, I was assigned to B Co. 3rd Bn, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Devens, MA, as Team Sergeant of A-321. From 1981 to 1986, in addition to being a Special Forces Team Sergeant; I also held the positions of NCOIC S2/S3, Fort Devens; S3 of the U.S. Army Intelligence School Brigade; followed by Command Sergeants Major, 1st BN 2d School Brigade. I departed Fort Devens in September 1986 and was assigned as Battalion Sergeants Major, ROTC Battalion, University of Southern Maine, where I remained until retirement in March 1990, after 30 years service.

After retirement, I went into business for myself, refurbishing old homes. The money was good but the job was killing me (I was just too hard to work for) so I decided to work for someone else. I accepted a position as Supervisor of Security at a school for wayward kids. Then in 1992, I took a position as Training Supervisor/Deputy Chief at Maine Yankee Atomic Energy Plant, Wiscasset, Maine. I resigned this position and retired in 2002 after a bad case of pneumonia (which just about killed me) proceeded by a broken neck (second vertebrae) from an automobile accident.

In 1998 I married the beautiful Lissa Hopkins and was welcomed into her wonderful family with her five adorable children.

I have resided, for the last 19 years, at 143 Pleasant Street in the town of Richmond, Maine (12 miles south of Augusta and 45 miles north of Portland, Maine).

Gary Nichols Photo Collection