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MATSG 53 holds change of command

Marine Corps Col. James D. Nichols will relieve Col. Steven M. Keim Friday, July 16, at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, as commanding officer of Marine Aviation Training Support Group 53.

Brig. Gen. Carl B. Jensen, Commander, Marine Corps Air Bases Western Area, Miramar, Calif., will be the reviewing officer at the change of command ceremony at 2 p.m.

Keim will become the professor of naval sciences at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas.

Nichols graduated from the University of Florida under a Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship and was commissioned in June 1977. He attended flight school in Pensacola, Fla., and was designated a naval flight officer in 1979.

Nichols earned a B.S. in forestry from the University of Florida (1977), an M.M.S. in military studies from the Marine Corps University (1994) and an M.A. in strategic studies from the Naval War College (2000).

He began his military career flying the A-6E Intruder at Cherry Point, N.C., and later qualified in the EA-6B Prowler. Nichols had previous tours here, serving at the now disestablished Attack Squadron (VA) 128 and the Medium Attack Weapons School.

He last served as Chief of Staff, Marine Air Ground Combat Center, Marine Corps Air Ground Task Force Training Command, Twenty-nine Palms, Calif. He has more than 2,900 hours in tactical jets and has operated off four carriers.

MATSG 53, with a complement of 150 personnel, is the parent command for all Marines at NAS Whidbey Island who are assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron 129, Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Detachment and the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit, Whidbey Island.

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