Captain Thomas M. McNicholas, Jr.

Commissioning Ceremony
Ceremonial Commissioning 17 December 1983
“Man the Ship!”

Captain’s Biography


1st Commanding Officer

Captain Thomas M. McNicholas, Jr. was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and received his commission in 1961 upon graduation from the Naval Academy. He was issued orders as Prospective Commanding Officer (PCO) of the Precommissioning Unit (PCU) SHENANDOAH (AD 44) during the ship’s Christening and Launching Ceremony on 6 February 1982. He assumed command of the Destroyer Tender USS SHENANDOAH (AD 44) on 15 August 1983.

He is married to the former, Mary Jane Bailey of Baltimore, Maryland and they have two children, Amy and Tom III. Captain and Mrs. McNicholas, Jr. live in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Tours & Decorations

Ashore Tours

Ashore, Capt. McNicholas attended the U.S. Naval Destroyer School and the Command and Staff Course at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. He has also served on the Leadership and Management Committee at the Naval Academy as an instructor, in the Bureau of Naval Personnel as the head of the Officer Recall and Release Branch, and in the Office of Chief of Naval Operations as Assistant Head of the Tactical Command and Control Systems Branch.

Sea Tours

Damage Control Assistant in the destroyer, USS Allen M. Sumner (DD 692), Engineer Officer aboard the destroyer, USS Jonas Ingram (DD 938), Commanding Officer of the ocean minesweeper, USS Direct (MSO 430), Executive Officer of the guided-missile cruiser, USS William H. Standley (CG 32) and commanded the guided-missile destroyer, USS Barney (DDG 6) and the destroyer tender, USS Piedmont (AD 17).


Capt. McNicholas has been awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Battle Efficiency “E” Ribbon, Navy Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

Ship’s Commissioning

Commissioning Address

“We have been entrusted with the challenge to make Shenandoah the best ship possible,” said Capt. Thomas M. McNicholas Jr, Commanding Officer of the Navy’s newest destroyer tender one year ago. On August 15, 1983, about 400 crew members assembled on the helo-deck to watch as the ship’s first ensign was raised in solemn dignity, and then listened to the captain’s remarks and the reading of the commissioning directive.

First Change of Command Ceremony

Lacey Relieves McNicholas Aboard Shenandoah

In traditional change of command ceremonies, April 19, 1985, on board USS Shenandoah (AD 44) in Norfolk, Capt. John S. Lacey Jr relieved Capt. Thomas M. McNicholas Jr as commanding officer of the Navy’s newest destroyer tender.

Guest speaker was Rear Admiral Morton E. Toole, Commander Service Group Two.

Captain’s Photo Gallery

Click on an image within the carousel to enlarge.

Please contact the Yeoman if you have photos of Captain McNicholas you would like to add to his photo gallery

Captain’s Library

USS Shenandoah (AD-44)
Click to View