Sergeant Major Nielson enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in February 1989 as a Motor Transport Operator and shipped to Recruit Training in January 1990. After completing Recruit Training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego, Private Nielson attended Marine Combat Training and School of Infantry at Camp Pendleton, California. In September of 1990, he reported to 2d Light Anti-Aircraft Missile Battalion (2d LAAM), HQBTRY, MCAS Yuma, Arizona. While assigned to 2dLAAM BN, Private First Class Nielson deployed in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In October of 1990, he supported HAWK missile batteries throughout Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. While still assigned to 2dLAAM BN, Private First Class Nielson was promoted to Lance Corporal. Upon returning to the Continental United States, he was subsequently promoted to Corporal.
Corporal Nielson reenlisted in 1994 and was transferred to Marine Wing Support Squadron 172 (MWSS-172), Okinawa, Japan in 1995, where he served as the On-Vehicle Equipment NCOIC. While assigned to MWSS-172, he was promoted to Sergeant and attended the Sergeants Course at Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan.
In June of 1995, Sergeant Nielson volunteered to attend Drill Instructor School at MCRD San Diego, California. Upon completion of Drill Instructor School, Sergeant Nielson reported to 1st Battalion, Delta Company as a Drill Instructor. From MCRD San Diego, he was transferred to Weapons Field Training Battalion in 1996 as a Field Instructor. During his tour there, he implemented the Crucible for Recruit Training.
In October 1997, Sergeant Nielson reported to the 12th Marine Regiment, 3d MARDIV, HQBTRY, in Okinawa, Japan and was assigned as the Regimental Motor Transport Operations Chief. In August of 1998, Staff Sergeant Nielson returned from Okinawa Japan and reported to Marine Wing Support Squadron 371, MCAS Yuma, Arizona and served as a Motor Transport Section Leader. After graduating from the Motor Transport Career and Staff Noncommissioned Officer Academy, Staff Sergeant Nielson became the Motor Transport Branch Chief.
Staff Sergeant Nielson then transferred to Camp Pendleton and served with the Logistical Movement Control Center (LMCC), G-3, 1st Force Service Support Group (1stFSSG) as the I-MEF / 1st FSSG Road Master. During this tour, Staff Sergeant Nielson deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom as an LMCC Coordinator.
After returning from deployment in Iraq in August 2003, Gunnery Sergeant Nielson attended the Motor Transport Advanced Course and SNCO Advanced Academy, where he graduated in the top 10% of the class. Upon graduation, he was assigned to 1st Medical Battalion as the H&S Company First Sergeant, where he served until his next rotation for deployment to Iraq. Gunnery Sergeant Nielson deployed in support of OIF with Bravo Surgical Company. He served as the Company Gunnery Sergeant for a Level II treatment facility in Fallujah. After eight months in theater, he returned back to Camp Pendleton at 1stMEDBN and simultaneously served two billets as the Motor Transport Officer and H&S Company First Sergeant.
In March of 2006, Gunnery Sergeant Nielson reported to The Basic School for duty as the Motor Transport Truck Master. During this tour, Gunnery Sergeant Nielson also filled the billet of a Sergeant Instructor at Officer Candidates School (OCS) throughout the summer of 2006. Upon returning from OCS, Gunnery Sergeant Nielson was frocked to First Sergeant and assigned to serve as the Combat Service Support Company First Sergeant at The Basic School.
In March of 2008, First Sergeant Nielson transferred to Charlie Company (-), 1st Battalion, 23d Marine Regiment in Corpus Christi, Texas, where he served as the Inspector-Instructor and Company First Sergeant. During this tour, First Sergeant Nielson also served as the Toys-for-Tots Coordinator throughout the 2009 and 2010 campaigns.
In March of 2011, First Sergeant Nielson transferred to Production & Analysis Company, 1st Intelligence Battalion, Camp Pendleton, California, where he served as the Company First Sergeant. He deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and served as the 1st Intelligence Battalion, Detachment SNCOIC.
In September 2012, First Sergeant Nielson transferred to Counter Intelligence and Human Intelligence Company, 1st Intelligence Battalion. Upon completion of the Battalion’s reorganization in preparation for an upcoming Operation Enduring Freedom deployment, First Sergeant Nielson was transferred to Headquarter Company, where he served as the Company First Sergeant.
In February of 2014, First Sergeant Nielson was selected for promotion to Sergeant Major and received orders to Recruiting Station Albuquerque where he assumed his duties in March of 2014.
Sergeant Major Nielson’s personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal with one gold star, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with four gold stars, and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with two gold stars.