Col Karen E. Nichols is Commander, 101st Medical Group, 101st Air Refueling Wing, Maine Air National Guard, Bangor, Maine. She directs the medical support to approximately 1200 personnel statewide including the 101st Air Refueling Wing, 243rd Engineering Installation Squadron, 265th Combat Communications Squadron, and State Headquarters. She apprises Commanders of the individual medical readiness of their forces, prevention education with regard to immunizations, substances and mental health with an emphasis on overall fitness and health literacy. She oversees the medical readiness program which ensures local community health emergency planning as part of the Homeland Defense mission.
Col Nichols began her career in the Air National Guard on August 5th 2000 as a Physician Assistant in the Biomedical Science Corp. In this position, she ensured worldwide readiness for deployment of all service members of the 101st Air Refueling Wing by performing reserve component physical health assessments and medical evaluations for 500+ members. A Drill Status Guardsman throughout her career, in 2000 she also worked as a Physician Assistant in the field of orthopedics in a private practice in Bangor. The next year she joined the Eastern Maine Medical Center team focusing on general surgery and trauma patients. In 2003, Col Nichols began working for Healthworks as a Physician Assistant in occupational and sports medicine. In 2006, she moved to the Mayo Regional Hospital where she grew a rural primary care practice for 8 years working with the underserved Piscataquis area. The Colonel later transferred to St. Joseph’s Internal Medicine in Bangor, managing all aspects of primary care for an internal medicine panel. In 2016, Col Nichols was selected to serve as the 101st Medical Group Commander, responsible for the oversight of all medical functions, processes, and 53 unit personnel.
Prior to this assignment, Col Nichols served as the Medical Readiness Officer.
1992 Baccalaureate Degree in Business Administration/Marketing, University of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky
1998 Masters Degree of Health Sciences and Physicians Assistant Certificate, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
2006 Squadron Officer School, by correspondence
2014 Masters Degree of Business Administration/Healthcare Management, Husson University, Bangor, ME
2016 Air War College, by correspondence
1. August 2000 – March 2016, Physicians Assistant, 101st Medical Group, Bangor, ME
2. April 2016 – Present, Commander, 101st Medical Group, Bangor ME
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Air Force Commendation Medal
Air Force Achievement Medal
Meritorious Unit Award
AF Outstanding Unit Award with Valor Device with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters
National Defense Service Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal
Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal
AF Longevity Service with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters
Armed Forces Reserve Medal
Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon (Pistol)
AF Training Ribbon
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
First Lieutenant – 05 Aug 2000
Captain – 05 Aug 2002
Major – 12 Oct 2006
Lieutenant Colonel – 04 Aug 2011
Colonel - May 25 2017
(Current as of 31 May 2018)