#IMSCFamily: Meet Lt. Col. Francy Nichols

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JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – Meet Lt. Col. Francy Nichols, spouse of Col. George Nichols with our Air Force Civil Engineer Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas. She is our #IMSCFamily spotlight for November. 

We asked the lieutenant colonel, who is a colonel select and commander of the 81st Inpatient Operations Squadron at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, to tell us a little more about her life as a military spouse. 

How long have you been around the military? 
Thirty-one years total, nine as just a civilian spouse during my previous marriage and then 22 years active duty with the last 18 and a half years as half of a join spouse couple with George. We met on a well-known dating site while stationed at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, in 2003, and I had three kids.

What’s your first memory as the spouse of an Airman? 
I think I was in awe at the inner workings of a military base and how all the units come together to make the best possible experience for their Airmen and the mission they execute.

What’s your best experience as the spouse of an Airman? 
Watching George shine in all the different positions he has held. He is an extrovert engineer and empathetic leader. He thrives on personal interactions and building relationships with others, and it always amazes me how easily it comes for him. He is a very gifted speaker so any time I get to listen to him it means so much and I learn something new.

What’s a challenge you and your spouse overcame as a team? 
The challenge that George and I have had to tackle over the years is raising a family of five kids (Jordan, Taylor, Ryan, Grace and Gabriel) and supporting now six grandchildren (Sophia, Evelyn, Loana, Lennox, Oliver and Rylan) to the best of our ability, even if that means one of us is not physically present. George has deployed five times over the years, including squadron command in Kuwait for a year, to keep our family in place in Washington D.C. during our Ryan’s high school senior year. Now the shoe is on the other foot as George is navigating single parenting and a full-time job while I am stationed in Mississippi for two years in my second squadron command.  Our youngest daughter, Grace, is in her senior year of high school so the sacrifice to support her not moving, unfortunately, required the split household again. 
What’s your best advice for other AFIMSC spouses?
Talk to your spouse about their job and what they do. Many times you may think your spouse has more control of what is expected of them or their deployments, training, etc. Unfortunately, they do not and it is important to support them and give them grace. Many of us want to control the chaos around us but it isn’t as easy as it looks and sounds. Open communication with mutually agreeable goals will help your family navigate military life.

Do you have a mantra that you live by and how does it help?
I live by my faith and I give it all to God. I am a strong believer that everything happens for a reason and in God’s timing not my own. 

What’s something you cherish from your time as a spouse and why?
I cherish the time while at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, when George administered the oath of office to me when I pinned on lieutenant colonel. My husband is a mentor of mine and it meant the world to me.