Commander Paul W. Nickell, Long Beach born native Californian, enlisted in the United States Navy in 1996. Selected for the Broadened Opportunity for Officer Selection and Training (BOOST), and subsequently the Enlisted Commissioning Program, he received a commission from Auburn University in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Discrete Mathematics and designated as a Naval Flight Officer in December 2003.
Nickell’s Operational tours include: Patrol Squadron 26 (VP 26), Brunswick, ME as NFO Training Officer/Instructor; Special Projects Patrol Squadron 2 (VPU 2), Kaneohe Bay, HI as NATOPS Evaluator/Division Officer; USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), San Diego, CA as Assistant Navigator; and Patrol Squadron 10 (VP 10), Jacksonville, FL as Maintenance Officer.
His shore and staff assignments include Patrol Squadron 30 (VP 30), in Jacksonville, FL, as a Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) Instructor, P-3C Production Training Director and Weapons and Tactics Instructor; and most recently assigned as Flag Aide to the Commander of United States Pacific Fleet.
Nickell has operated in every geographic combatant command region, and participated in Operations Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan and Philippines), Iraqi Freedom, Active Endeavor, New Dawn and Iraqi Resolve. He has logged over 2,900 flight hours in maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft; served on fast paced, progressive teams that have been awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation and the Navy “E” Ribbon awards and various campaign awards. He has been recognized with the Navy League Sea Service Leadership award for his time in VPU-2, the Stennis Center’s “The Admiral” Leadership award for his time aboard USS CARL VINSON, and is authorized to wear the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal Strike/Flight (6), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (5), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (3), along with other personal and unit awards.