Operations Support Airmen welcome new commander
By Tech. Sgt. Lindsey Maurice, 920th Rescue Wing Public Affairs
/ Published July 11, 2017
PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 920th Operations Support Squadron welcomed its new commander, Lt. Col. Scott Nichols, during a change of command ceremony July 9 at the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute.
Colonel Nichols moves into the command position after serving as the unit’s chief of weapons and tactics since July 2014.
“You’ve had an amazing and impressive career so far and the fact that you’re here now does not surprise me,” said Col. Michael LoForti, 920th Operations Group commander, who presided over the ceremony. “I’m looking forward to working with you over the next several years here. Keep up the great work.”
Nichols takes command of the OSS from Lt. Col. Christopher LaCoutore, who headed the unit since June 2015, spending six months of that time as the acting 920th OG commander.
“I am jealous of this squadron,” LaCoutore said after handing over the reins. “I am leaving officially now, but Colonel Nichols is the kind of commander that I would want to work for.”
“I’ve known him for 16 years and when I first arrived at Nellis Air Force Base all those years ago, he was already there,” he continued. “We were both new co-pilots. I had cross trained from H-1s (to HH-60s) and I was annoyed because he was better than me.”
“That’s something that hasn’t changed, and so I’m still annoyed,” he joked. “However, I can say a smarter, more focused, more capable commander is not to be had in the Air Force and that’s why I am pleased that the OSS is trading up.”
Friends and family gathered alongside unit members to support Colonel Nichols as he accepted the 920th OSS guidon from Colonel LoForti symbolizing his acceptance of his new role.
“I think a squadron commander is one of the key parts of making a squadron and making the Air Force go,” Nichols said. “It’s where the rubber meets the road for how people do things and what they do. It’s the first line of leadership that most people see and having the opportunity to command this squadron is an honor. It’s an opportunity to impact people’s lives in a positive way and I hope to do just that.”
Nichols received his commission from the U.S. Air Force Academy in June 1999. He is a command pilot with more than 2,600 flight hours and over 200 combat hours. He has flown sorties in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom, Freedom Sentinel and Enduring Freedom.