The Portraits

Nicole Malachowski

U.S. Air Force, Retired • Colonel

Colonel Nicole Malachowski was born in Santa Maria, CA and received her commission from the United States Air Force Academy in 1996. Malachowski was among the first group of women to fly modern fighter aircraft and over her 21-year career, she served in combat as an F-15E Flight Commander, Evaluator, Instructor Pilot and Flight Lead, and achieved the rating of Command Pilot with over 2,300 flight hours in six different Air Force aircraft. Malachowski is also the first woman to fly on any Department of Defense military jet demonstration teams as part of the USAF Air Demonstration Squadron, “Thunderbirds”. Her proudest moment as a fighter pilot was leading the first fighter formation to provide security for Iraq’s historic democratic elections in 2005. On the ground, Nicole was a class of 2008-2009 White House Fellow where she served on the Presidential Transition Support Team while assigned to the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA). She served in two high-level staff assignments at the Pentagon and was the Executive Director of the White House’s national Joining Forces initiative where she directly advised former First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden on topics related to service members, veterans, and military families. In 2011, Malachowski took command of the 333rd Fighter Squadron at Seymour Johnson AFB in Goldsboro, NC which she credits as, “hands down,” the single greatest honor during her military career. Malachowski is a survivor of neurological Tick-Borne Illness and is an advocate for similar patients. She is also an ardent supporter of the Air Force Wounded Warrior Program. Malachowski was medically retired from the Air Force in 2017. She and her husband Paul, a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, have two children.