Scott Named First Female ROTC Commander at VMI
LEXINGTON, Va., July 28, 2022—Col. Nichole K.A. Scott has assumed command of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) at Virginia Military Institute. The mission of the AFROTC is to develop cadets into professional leaders passionate about service in the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Space Force through a rigorous program of classroom instruction, leadership laboratory, and field training. Scott, who is the first female commander of any ROTC military branch at VMI, arrives during the 25th anniversary of the admittance of female cadets.
Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins ’85, superintendent at VMI said that he is excited to work with Scott. “Colonel Scott has distinguished herself as an exceptional leader and the perfect fit for VMI. I look forward to seeing Nichole mold our AFROTC cadets into outstanding second lieutenants who will serve our country well,” said Wins.
Scott entered the Air Force in July 1998 as a graduate of the ROTC program at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois. She is a career civil engineering officer with multiple deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. She has held multiple staff and base level assignments. She also served as a political affairs strategist at the U.S. Pacific Command. She was a deployed squadron commander of the 386th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron, Ali Al Salem Air Base in Kuwait. Her second squadron command was the 375th Civil Engineer Squadron at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. Prior to coming to VMI, she was the commander of the 316th Mission Support Group at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.
Born and raised from humble beginnings in Hawaii, Scott enrolled in Junior ROTC in order to attend the high school of her choice. Prior to that exposure, she did not know what ROTC entailed, nor had any military aspirations, but soon embraced it and applied for ROTC and received a full scholarship to Illinois Tech. Even though Chicago was quite different from Hawaii in many ways, not the least of which is the weather, Scott adored it. “I loved the people and the structure of both Illinois Tech and ROTC. It was such a wonderful experience, and I wanted to continue in the military,” said Scott.
Scott has been in the Air Force for 24 years and has traveled all over the world, including two tours in her home state of Hawaii, where she still has family, where she was married, and where her two children were born. “I have been so blessed. I enjoy the Air Force and find it amazing that it has been 24 years. The time has flown by,” she mused.
Scott applied for the highly sought-after position at VMI having never been to VMI nor Lexington. She had visited the Shenandoah Valley region though, and found it to be beautiful and charming, and wanted to reside in Virginia. She had talked to graduates of VMI and was aware of VMI’s history. “I applied in August 2021 among fierce competition. I didn’t know who else had applied, but I did know they were all extremely qualified, and frankly I didn’t think I had much of a chance. The following October, my boss called and told me I got the job. I was elated,” explained Scott. Her tour of duty at VMI is for three years.
Scott was not aware of the significance of her appointment being the first female ROTC commander at VMI when she applied, but learned of it later. “I was surprised to learn that I am the first,” she confessed, “But I truly believe that the military is a meritocracy, that people are selected based on skills and merits. I don’t shy from a challenge, and come to work every day with the goal of doing the very best I can. My predecessor did an excellent job in producing the best Air and Space Force lieutenants to come out of VMI. I will continue to train and educate our cadets and will model what the Air Force and Space Force look like. I love people and believe my strength is mentoring and guiding young people, and am excited to be able to do that here at VMI,” stated Scott.
Scott lives with her husband and two children in Lexington and believes in the strength of family. She maintains close connections with her family members in Hawaii, as well as her husband’s family here on the mainland. “There is a Hawaiian word, ‘ohana’ which means family. We can’t choose our family, but as members of a family, we help each other out and support each other. We hold our siblings accountable for bad choices, and we cry on each other’s shoulders and help carry each other’s burdens. That is what family is for. I have been told that VMI is very much a family, and even though I have only been here a short time, I have experienced that sentiment. I want to impress that point of view to my cadets, to hold each other accountable, and to support one another in reaching their goals,” said Scott.
VMI Photo by Kelly Nye
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