Lt. Col Scott Nicholas, has his name inscribed on a U.S. Army service sword after he graduated from Texas A&M in 1997. His great-uncle, James Morris Nicholas, was the first to have his name inscribed after graduating in 1937. The third generation will be Tyler Joe Stevens who graduates from A&M in December 2015.

David Ball – For The Record

Duty. Honor. Country.

These are three words many use to describe the military. There is another thing that comes in threes- three generations of the Nicholas family of Orange serving the nation.

One visible momento of that service is a U.S. Army service sword passed down through the generations.

Three dates are inscribed on the sword for three generations who have served the nation.

The first was great-uncle, James Morris Nicholas, who graduated Texas A&M University in 1937. The elder Nicholas served in Patton’s army during World War II. The second generation was Scott. The third will be Bill Nicholas’- Scott’s father- grandson, Tyler Joe Stevens who graduates from A&M in December 2015.

Three graduation dates will be on the sword.

The family must bleed maroon and they have a long and distinguished legacy of military service.

Bill’s daughter, Laura Nicholas, for instance, is also working on a doctorate degree from A&M. She works in Informational Technology and she transformed the system for Pearland ISD.

Bill was a Coast Guardsman. He later worked as a risk management engineer at plants before retiring 18 months ago. He now does consulting work.

Eighteen years ago the Nicholas brothers started their careers earning academic and military honors.

Scott was a senior at Texas A&M University, majoring in history and government. Chris finished an associate’s degree in design and drafting at Lamar Institute of Technology. Both received high honors from their schools.

Scott was the executive officer of the Corps at A&M and on an ROTC scholarship he earned after his second year. He was also named to the commandant’s honor roll for the second time in college.

Scott was the former commanding officer of the Parson Mounted Cavalry. He carried the sword of his great-uncle during the review.

After graduation, Scott signed a six-year enlistment with the U.S. Army and he was commissioned as a second lieutenant. Later, he became an Apache helicopter pilot. He first served with the Special Forces group, the Army Rangers.

In 1996, Scott led the Parsons Cavalry onto the field for review and marched past then Gov. George W. Bush and 6,000 spectators. His parents, Bill and Madeline Nicholas, were among those spectators.

Bill and Madeline said the nicest thing was hearing the announced say that Scott was from Orange, Texas. Bill also has roots in Port Arthur.

Scott made the dean’s list at A&M every other semester.

Scott’s brother-in-law was a captain in the Army and he flew helicopters in Vietnam. His brother-in-law drove to the PX in Fort Polk, La., purchased a captain’s uniform, and then drove back to Texas to swear-in Scott for military service.

Bill’s father once met General Patton at Fort Polk. He was a dive bomb pilot who was stationed in Malaysia. He was to be part of the force to invade Japan near the end of the war.

Bill’s father was also with the third group of airmen to return from the Bermuda Triangle after the first two groups disappeared.

Scott was recently promoted to lieutenant colonel, making him the highest ranking member of the family over Morris who was a major. He is also commander of the 1-149th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion at Ellington Field in Houston.

Bill said two generals, who are Scott’s bosses, have nothing but accolades to say about him.

Bill said Scott pulls people up with him and he believes he’s as only as good as his support personnel is.

Chris received his degree in the late 1990s. He already served in the Navy and served on the flight crew of the USS Constellation (CV-64) for four years before returning to college.

Chris spent the majority of his service time in the Persian Gulf before making his way back to San Diego, Calif.

When the Constellation reached Hawaii en route, the fathers of the crewmen were flown in and allowed to accompany their sons to San Diego for the last leg of the journey on May 4-10, 1995.

Bill said it was a really nice thing the Navy did allowing the fathers to travel with their sons.

Chris remained in the reserves while attending college. He made the President’s list for achieving a perfect 4.0 GPA. Less than five percent of Lamar students reach that level.

Bill said Chris loved the Navy and working in flight launch.

Bill said Scott and Chris had an influential teacher in elementary school named Larry Buchman. He was later principal of Bridge City Intermediate School.

Bill said it’s an honor to protect the nation and it’s frustrating to him when others put themselves before their nation.