Commanding General, III Marine Expeditionary Force;
and Commander, Marine Forces Japan
Lieutenant General Nicholson was born in Toronto, Canada, and is a 1979 graduate of the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. He holds a MS degree from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. From 1980-1982, Lieutenant General Nicholson served as a Platoon and Company Commander in 3d Battalion, 1st Marines at Camp Pendleton, California. From 1982-1985 he was assigned to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, where he served as a Series and Company Commander.
Following Amphibious Warfare School at Quantico, Virginia in 1986, Lieutenant General Nicholson served as a Platoon Commander at Officers Candidate School until joining 3/7 in the fall of 1986. He then served as a Rifle Company Commander for Lima 3/7 and subsequently Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 9th Marines until May of 1990. From June 1990 to July 1993, Lieutenant General Nicholson served as a Company Officer and Instructor at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Following completion of the US Army Command and General Staff College in 1994, he was assigned to the Middle East as a United Nations Observer for UNTSO Palestine. In 1995, he reported to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina as the Executive Officer of the Wolfpack, 2d Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion.
In 1997, Lieutenant General Nicholson assumed the duties as the 2d Marine Division, G-3 Operations Officer until taking Command of the WARLORDS of 2d Battalion, 2d Marines in 1999. Following a deployment to the Balkans with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, he was re-assigned in 2001, as the Executive Officer of the 2d Marine Regiment. Upon graduation of the NATO Defense College in Rome, Italy in 2002, he was assigned to NATO HQ in Brussels, Belgium where he served as the Ground Forces Planner for the U.S. Military Delegation to NATO. In July 2004, Lieutenant General Nicholson reported to the 1st Marine Division HQ at Camp Blue Diamond, Ramadi, Iraq, where he served as the Division G-3. In July of 2005, he assumed command of the 5th Marine Regiment and deployed with them to Fallujah, Iraq in 2006.
As a General Officer, he has served as the Deputy CG for Marine Corps Combat Development Command at Quantico; the Commanding General of the 2d Marine Expeditionary Brigade in Helmand Province Afghanistan; the Senior Military Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense in Washington, DC; the Operations Officer for the ISAF Joint Command in Kabul, Afghanistan; and CG of the 1st Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, California. Lieutenant General Nicholson assumed command of the III Marine Expeditionary Force on 11 September 2015.