Capt. Christopher T. Nichols was born in Jasper, Fla. and raised in Monticello, Fla. He graduated from Jefferson County High School in 1983, and enlisted for training in the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program.
After completing Recruit Training and Machinists Mate ‘A’ School at Service School Command, Great Lakes, Ill., he completed Nuclear Power School in Orlando, Fla, and prototype training at Ballston Spa, N.Y.
His enlisted tours included serving in Machinery Division, USS GRAYLING (SSN 646), where he completed two Northern Atlantic deployments. He was then assigned to the conversion crew of USS DANIEL WEBSTER (SSBN 626) to a Moored Training Ship (MTS 626). After advancement to Chief Petty Officer, he was selected as the Machinery Division Leading Chief Petty Officer for the initial crew manning of the USS SEAWOLF (SSN 21), and selected for commissioning under the Nuclear Power Limited Duty Officer Program.
His officer tours included USS MCKEE (AS 41), where he served as the Nuclear Repair Officer and Planning and Estimating Officer. He then served in reactor department on USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN 74), making two deployments to the Western Pacific and Arabian Gulf in support of OPERATION SOUTHERN WATCH and OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM.
Following a shore assignment as the Production Management Assistant at Shore Intermediate Maintenance Activity Submarine Support Detachment, San Diego, he was assigned as the Ship’s Maintenance Officer aboard USS RONALD REAGAN (CVN 76), completing new construction and delivery, an inter-fleet transfer and maiden Western Pacific deployment in support of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM.
Capt. Nichols was selected to serve as the Production Management Assistant on USS EMORY S LAND (AS 39), repairing submarines and surface ships throughout the Mediterranean theater before conducting an inter-fleet transfer, extended Docking Phased Maintenance Availability, and initial conversion to a hybrid Navy-Military Sealift Command Submarine Tender. Capt. Nichols was selected by the Director, Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program to serve as the Nuclear Limited Duty Officer Community Manager in Washington DC. Following this tour, he served as USS GEORGE H. W. BUSH (CVN 77) Chief Engineer, completing an extended combat deployment which executed the initial strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). He then served as the Nuclear Power/Submarine Limited Duty Officer and Chief Warrant Officer Branch Head (PERS 42) at Naval Personnel Command in Millington, Tenn.
Captain Nichols holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Southern Illinois University, and a Masters degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Financial Management from National University.
His awards include the Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), Navy Commendation Medal (five awards), the Navy Achievement Medal (nine awards), Navy Expeditionary Medal, Southwestern Asia Service Medal, National Defense Medal (two awards), Good Conduct Medal (three awards), the Global War on Terrorism Medal, and multiple other unit awards.