He was commissioned a 2nd Lt in the Field Artillery Reserve later completed flight training at Kelly Field in Texas and served in the regular Army Air Corps in New York and was stationed at Mitchell Field Long Island. It was there that he was inducted into QB's (Quiet Birdmen) an organization of flyers started by Lindbergh. His sponsor was Admiral Richard Byrd
In 1938 he met Madeline Hechenbleikner of Charlotte at an air show in Dayton Ohio They were married for 45 years until her death in 1982
At the outbreak of World War II he was 2nd in command of Clark Field in Manila the Philippines. While in the Philippines, he saw considerable service and was in the thick
of the Japanese bombing and machine sun fire. Before the U.S. surrender, Lieutenant Nichols was sent to Australia.
Enroute, the plane in which he was
flying was shot down, all escaped unhurt and continued on in another plane to Australia.
He served in the South Pacific commanding a bomber squadron and was on General MacArthur's staff in Australia.Colonel Nichols Flew Home From Australia for Holidays
Lieut. Colonel E. Snowden Nichols, United States Air Force, flew home from Australia after two and one-half years, of duty abroad. He was in the Philippines when Pearl Harbor was bombed and since that time has seen considerable service in the southwest Pacific. With over nine years of army service to his credit, Colonel Nichols was serving as Major when Pearl Harbor was attacked. Arriving in the United States, he spent several days with his wife in Charlotte, N. C. before coming to Rye to spend New Years with his mother, Mrs. Erickson N. Nichols, of Grace Church Street. He is a brother of
Ruth Nichols, nationally known aviatrix
, who is now devoting much of her time to Relief Wings, Inc. Colonel Nichols left Rye on Sunday to go to Washington for assignment.
Friday, January 8, 1943 THE RYE CHRONICLECol. E. Snowden Nichols Cited Twice as Flyer in South Pacific
Until Colonel E. Snowden Nichols arrived home for a week-end visit, his family did not know he was cited twice for outstanding service on active duty as a flyer in the South Pacific. Wearing his decorations for the first time, Colonel Nichols flew from Washington, where he is on the General staff, to spend the weekend with his mother, Mrs. Erickson N. Nichols, and sister, Miss Ruth Nichols, of Grace Church Street. Colonel Nichols was decorated for carrying supplies under fire, particularly for his work in New Guinea.
PAGE TWO T H E RYE CHRONICLE Friday, August 13, 1943
COMMANDERS. Lt Col Erickson S Nichols, 12 Nov 1942374th TROOP CARRIER GROUP
Constituted as 374th Troop Carrier Group on 7 Nov 1942 and activated in Australia on 12 Nov. Assigned to Fifth AF. Transported men and materiel in the theater from Nov 1942 until after the war, operating from Australia, New Guinea, Biak, and the Philippines. Used war-weary and worn-out aircraft, including B-18's, C-39's, C-4gYs, C-56's, Mo's, DC-3'S, and DC-$s, until equipped with C-47's in Feb 1943. Engaged in supplying Allied forces in the Papuan Campaign, receiving one DUC for these missions, and being awarded another DUC for transporting troops and equipment to Papua and evacuating casualties to rear areas, Nov-Dec 1942. Received third DUC for transporting men and supplies over the Owen Stanley Range, 30 Jan+ Feb 1943, to aid the small force defending the airdrome at Wau, New Guinea. Participated in the first airborne operation in the Southwest Pacific on 5 Sep 1943, dropping paratroops at Nadzab, New Guinea, to seize enemy bases and cut inland supply routes. Other operations included evacuating wounded personnel, flying courier routes, making passenger flights, and helping to move the 11th Division from Luzon to Okinawa in Aug 1945 for staging to Japan.
CAMPAIGNS. World War II: Air Offensive, Japan; Papua; New Guinea; Northern Solomons; Bismarck Archipelago; Western Pacific; Leyte; Luzon.
Following the war Colonel Nichols was In command of the New York Air National Guard 52nd Flight Wing. Later he was stationed in South America at Buenos Aires Bogota Ecuador and Havana Cuba. He retired after 40 years of commissioned service.
Colonel Erickson Snowden Nichols 95 died on Wednesday November 22 2000 at the Stewart Health Center The Cypress
Since the mid 1960's he lived in Charlotte and was a member of Myers Park Baptist Church and an honorary member of Charlotte Country Club. In 1986 he married Jane Ellen Norman who survived him and they spent their summers in Linville North Carolina at Grandfather Golf and Country Club.
Other survivors included nephews Norman C Nichols of Atlanta GA and Chester B Nichols of Tacoma WA as well as stepsons James T Norman Thomas E Norman David T Norman and Richard C Norman Col Nichols was also survived by his brother-in-law Dr Herbert Hechenbleikner and his family of Charlotte.
A memorial service for Col Nichols was held on Friday November 24 2000 at Myers Park Baptist Church with The Reverend Dr H Stephen Shoemaker and The Reverend Dr R Eugene Owens officiating
A private burial was held at Belmont Abbey Cemetery where his first wife was interred.
COMMANDERS. Lt Col Erickson S Nichols, 12 Nov 1942