Military Monday: Joseph Nicholes II, Air Force

Joseph Nicholes II
Sarah Harris
Staff Writer

Joseph Nicholes II grew up in Fritch and is a 2018 graduate of Fritch High School. Due to his birth date, he graduated at 17. Nicholes was searching for direction, and knowing he wanted to do something more with his life and see the world, he chose to join the military.
Nicholes was torn what branch to join, so his mother, Shawn, suggested he ask people what they thought. Since Nicholes has family who were in the U.S. Air Force, he decided to go that route. Nicholes’ said he went to see a recruiter in Amarillo who was very informative. The recruiter told the Nicholes: “Regardless of which branch you choose, you’re serving our country, and we’re all in this as a team.”
Nicholes signed for six years, and a selling point for him was the training he would receive, which will transfer into college credits. When Nicholes completes his service, he can receive his bachelor’s degree or an even higher education.
Shawn was excited for her son, but also uncertain of the unknown. So, she turned to an organization called Air Force Wing Mom, which was extremely helpful in alleviating that uncertainty.
Shawn Nicholes says, “I felt so hopeless, and I was so desperate to educate myself. It helped me prepare. It was so scary because he’s my only son. I didn’t know what to expect. I was just terrified. I knew this was a growing opportunity for him. I knew it would make a man out of him.
“I knew he wanted to do more in his life. I was terrified of the unknown. Receiving information and the advice from people who have been through that before really helped. That, and you know how to support your sons or your daughters. You want to help them grow their wings and fly.”
Joseph Nicholes signed in March, was sworn in, then was sent to Lackland Air Force base in San Antonio on May 7, where he spent the next two-and-a-half months. During BMT training, the hand-written letters Nicholes received meant so much to him. Nicholes’ “flight,” as the class is referred to, graduated at the top in both grades and physical fitness. Nicholes graduated on July 5, which, he says, “was really special because it was so close to Independence Day. It was a proud moment for us.” Nicholes was then sent to Tech School at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, graduating just last week on Oct. 17.
Nicholes’ next assignment will be at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, where he will spend the next three years.
Of that, Shawn Nicholes says, “He’s always wanted to live in the mountains, so it worked out great.”
Since joining the military, Shawn Nicholes has noticed a transformation in her son. She says, “He had a bad attitude, but now he’s disciplined. His eyes were opened to why rules were put in place. He loves that structure.” He tells Shawn, “Mom, I really like it.”