Captain Benjamin Nicholson
Captain Benjamin “Ben” Nicholson is originally from New Orleans, LA. He graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point, New York in 1993 earning a Third Assistant Marine Engineer’s License as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Engineering. He also holds a Master of Science degree in Systems Engineering (Electronic and Information Warfare) earned in 1999 from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California and a Master of Arts degree in National Security and Strategic Studies earned in 2010 from the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.
Captain Nicholson’s first sea tour, from 1993 to 1997, included commissioning USS MITSCHER (DDG 57) where he served as Communications Officer, Auxiliaries Officer, Main Propulsion Assistant and Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer. His Department Head sea assignments were as Chief Engineer in USS McFAUL (DDG 74), from 2000 to 2002, and Chief Engineer in USS O’BANNON (DD 987), from 2002 to 2003. Captain Nicholson was the Commanding Officer of MCM CREW SWERVE, a mine countermeasures ship rotational crew, from 2006 to 2008. During his time there MCM CREW SWERVE rotated to USS DEFENDER (MCM 2), USS GLADIATOR (MCM 11) and USS SENTRY (MCM 3) with Captain Nicholson serving as the Commanding Officer of the ships. He has also served as the Executive Officer from 2011 to 2012 and then Commanding Officer from 2012 to 2013 of USS PINCKNEY (DDG 91). From 2016 to 2017 he was the Deputy Commodore for Destroyer Squadron 22.
Ashore, from 2004 to 2006, Captain Nicholson was assigned to the Chief of Naval Operations staff as the Head of the Professional Development Section in the Military Personnel Plans and Policy Division (OPNAV N13). In 2008 and 2009 he served as the Commander of the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Farah, Afghanistan. The PRT assisted the local Afghan government with reconstruction, development, governance and security. Captain Nicholson was also the base Commander for the 600-member multi-national airfield and Forward Operating Base in Farah. Immediately following the PRT tour he was assigned as a Civil-Military Operations Planner in the headquarters of the Marine Expeditionary Brigade (Afghanistan) at Camp Leatherneck in Helmand Province in 2009. From 2013 to 2015 Captain Nicholson was assigned to US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), Special Operations Support Team (SOST) for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Washington, DC to coordinate FBI and Special Operations activities.
Captain Nicholson’s decorations include the Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (three awards), Navy Commendation Medal (four awards), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy Achievement Medal (three awards), Combat Action Ribbon and various campaign and unit awards. He is also a 2015 recipient of the FBI Director’s Award. Captain Nicholson is currently the Commodore of Destroyer Squadron 22, based in Norfolk, Virginia.