63rd Regional Support Command general retires after 36 years of service

63rd Regional Support Command
Story by Alun Thomas

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif – Shortly after relinquishing command of the 63rd Regional Support Command, Maj. Gen. Nickolas Tooliatos retired from the Army Reserve after 36 years of service, following a change of command and retirement ceremony, Sept.25, 2016, at Moffett Field, Mountain View, Calif.

Tooliatos, a Pleasanton Attorney with Randick O'Dea & Tooliatos, LLP, was accompanied by his wife Joni for the for the ceremony, where he received the Distinguished Service Medal from Maj. Gen. Peter Lennon, deputy commanding general (support), U.S. Army Reserve Command, capping off a career which began in 1980.  Tooliatos joined the Army Reserve after graduating from Santa Clara University that year, and was commissioned as a Distinguished Military Graduate. In the three decades that followed he served in leadership positions throughout the Army Reserve, culminating in his three-year tenure as commanding general of the 63rd RSC.

Tooliatos, of San Ramon, Calif., remembered the day he took his oath of office as a second lieutenant 36 years ago.

“The day I commissioned I had my mother, my father, my sister Paula and my then fiancée Joni in the Rose Garden at Santa Clara University just a few miles up the road,” Tooliatos said. “My mother and Joni pinned my bars on. As I looked across at my dad he had a grin from ear to ear.” “My dad was a World War II (battle of) Peleliu Marine and he was the greatest patriot I’ve ever met,” Tooliatos said.

I owe my life to my wife Joni, who has stood by me through everything, he said.  “She’s been there through deployments … through rocket attacks when I would click the Skype off so she wouldn’t have to hear the incoming rounds. I’d call back and say it was a bad connection,” Tooliatos joked.

The demands of Army life often meant missing important family events, including his children’s baseball games. “My poor kids had to endure me coaching baseball games in my old Battle Dress Uniform back in the day,” he said. “How many kids do you think had their dad coaching a game in BDU’s? I’ll always be thankful to my battalion commander who gave me the leeway to do that and let me maintain some balance.”

“I challenge all of you to maintain that balance. Your priorities are your family, your civilian job and then the United States Army,” he continued. “The Army is a jealous mistress. She will take as much
time as you’re willing to give her and we need you. But you have to maintain that balance.”

Tooliatos thanked all his mentors and influences for helping him improve as an officer and reach the rank of major general.  “In some way they all gave me opportunities that I probably didn’t deserve and praise on evaluation reports that I probably didn’t earn,” Tooliatos said. “Thanks for being great teammates and bringing out the best in me.”

Being afforded the opportunity to command the 63rd RSC as his last assignment has been an honor and a privilege, he said.  “You are a great group of soldiers and it’s been an honor to serve alongside you,” he said with pride.

Even in retirement Tooliatos asserted that he would remain a Soldier.  “When I was on the Army Reserve Forces Policy Committee we coined the concept called ‘Soldier for Life,’” Tooliatos said.  “Believe you me I’m going to be a Soldier for life,” he said.