WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD, Hawaii — “That self-doubt was always in the back of my head during the run,” said Spc. Kiala Nichols after finishing the 8-mile 2021 Great Aloha Run, while pushing her one and two-year old children in a double stroller. “I had to shut the self doubt down and push those babies as a Soldier while wearing my IOTV (Improved Outer Tactical Vest) with plates, then ended up getting first place in my category.”
After having two kids and a two-year break in service, Nichols reenlisted back in the Army in 2020 as an Aviation Operation Specialist (15P), and is currently serving at the 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division at Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii.
“It wasn’t easy,” said Nichols. “I had to mentally and physically prepare myself for what it takes raising a family while serving in the military. Once you change your mindset that you can do it, the physical comes into place.”
Being a female in a predominantly male profession, Nichols wants to show other women they too can be great facing their own unique challenges.
“Now that I have two kids watching me, I just want to show them, and everyone else, that even in the days of doubt, you can set goals and can accomplish anything you put your mind to,” said Nichols. “Parenthood is 24-hours a day, 7 days a week. There is never a moment you are not learning, adapting, and overcoming new challenges.”
Nichols grew up in New London, Conn. with her Puerto Rican family that is very supportive of her career. She shows pride by representing her country and culture.
“Serving in the military gives me the opportunity to influence people from all kinds of backgrounds and I can inspire people in ways I wouldn’t be able to back home,” she said.
Nichols loves working in aviation and has dreams of becoming a future Blackhawk pilot.