Thomas Edward Nichols

Army of the United States
01 April 1938 - 01 February 1969
Amarillo, Texas
Panel 33W Line 033

Silver Star


The database page for Thomas Edward Nichols

12 Jan 2004

I have to thank you for your service, not only to our great country but for your kindness to my Father, SSgt. Malcolm Pierce Libbey , as you were his contact Officer on that fateful day of 10/12/67. In my journey to discover more about my father, I was dealt a devastating blow to find out that your life was also ended so abruptly. Thank You, my fellow American. You made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us. God Bless and Keep You.

Maryann Libbey

31 Jul 2004

Tom attended schools in Odessa, Texas. He had his home of record in Amarillo, Texas. He is remembered by the Permian Basin Vietnam Veterans' Memorial located at the Midland, Texas International Airport.

From a Permian Basin Vietnam Memorial Representative,
Billy M. Brown

04 Nov 2005

From research, I found the article in the Odessa American Newspaper, dated February 4, 1969 announcing Captain Nichols' death. I also found another article, June 2, 1969 in the Odessa American announcing Captain Nichols awards given to his family in a private ceremony held at his parent's home in Odessa. In a recap, Captain Nichols was born in Abilene, Texas, lived his early years in Coleman, Texas, graduated in 1956 and then moved with his family to Odessa where he attended Odessa Collge and then the University of Texas at Austin. At UT he joined the Texas National Guard, attended OCS, and was commissioned as an infantry officer, TXNG. He was a full time National Guard Officer. He was the executive officer of the Odessa National Guard unit and then transferred to Amarillo where he commanded the unit there. He transferred to the Regular Army in 1966 from Amarillo as an infantry officer. He was married to Benita and had three step daughters and a daughter.

He completed his first tour in Vietnam in September 1968 as a member of MACV Team 86. While with Team 86, he was awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart for actions 12 October 1968. He extended his tour and then was assigned to MACV Team 95. He perished in a helicopter mishap in early February 1969 and is buried at the Fort Bliss National Cemetery in El Paso, Texas.

From a PBVVM Representative,
Billy M. Brown

APO San Francisco 96222

28 January 1968



1. TC 320. The following AWARD is announced posthumously.

Advisory Team 86, MACV

Awarded: Silver Star
Date action: 12 October 1967
Theater: Republic of Vietnam
Reason: For gallantry in action: Captain Nichols distinguished himself by gallantry in action on 12 October 1967 while serving as an Infantry Advisor to the 4th Battalion, 50th Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, Army of the Republic of Vietnam. On that date, the battalion headquarters, Long An Province, came under attack from an estimated reinforced Vietcong company. At the onset, Captain Nichols and members of his team were manning the advisory bunker. The bunker was the target of two accurately thrown hand grenades which exploded within the bunker causing serious wounds to Captain Nichols. The force of the grenade blew him out of the bunker and he landed in a pool of water. Upon recovery, and despite his wounds, the loss of his glasses and his weapon, Captain Nichols noticed that two Vietcong soldiers were approaching the bunker and without regard for his safety he stood up and detracted the enemy. Captain Nichol's action allowed the two remaining inhabitants of the bunker to escape. Captain Nichols, then ignoring the extreme danger, assisted a seriously wounded fellow advisor to safety and then assumed a position in a small perimeter and then fought off the enemy. As a result of his extraordinary valor and absolute dedication to duty, this action allowed other team members to remove the wounded to a secure area and return to help fight off the enemy until a reactionary force arrived. Captain Nichols' conspicuous gallantry in action was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Army and reflected great credit upon himself and the military service.
Authority: By direction of the President under the provisions of the Act of Congress, approved 9 July 1918.


Major General, USA
Chief of Staff

Transcribed from original orders by Billy M. Brown, PBVVM

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 01 Feb 1969 the 190th Assault Helicopter Company was tasked with providing airlift in support of a MAC-V Advisory Team. The aircraft, UH-1D tail number 66-00845, flown by pilot 2Lt M. S. Cheney and copilot WO J. D. Barnes, departed base at about 1300. It proceeded to the HQ III Corps helipad, thence to Bien Hoa, and thence to the 3rd ARVN Engineer Battalion helipad at Hoc Mon, landing at about 1340 with three passengers aboard. Four additional passengers boarded the helicopter at Hoc Mon.

With 2Lt Cheney at the controls, the UH-1 lifted off into a hover, and then commenced forward flight into a southerly wind. After about 130 feet of travel the Huey's main rotor blade struck a flagpole, ripping the transmission from the aircraft. The fuselage continued forward and impacted the ground in a nose-low attitude.

Of the eleven men aboard, five died and four others were injured in the crash. The dead included

  • WO Jackson D. Barnes, Winchester, TN, 190th AHC, copilot;
  • CPT Thomas E. Nichols, Amarillo, TX, MACV Advisory Team 95;
  • SP5 James H. Ward, Homewood, IL, MACV Advisory Team 95; and
  • two Vietnamese nationals, Mr. Nguyen and Mr. D. V. Trieu.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
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