Lieutenant Colonel Nelson graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Finance and was commissioned in 1997. Following The Basic School and Infantry Officer Course, he reported to 3d Battalion, 8th Marines (3/8) where he served as a rifle platoon commander and company executive officer. While with 3/8, he deployed with the 26th MEU conducting missions in support of Operations Allied Force, (Adriatic); Shining Hope (Albania); Joint Guardian Initial Entry Forces (Kosovo); and Avid Response (Turkey).
From May 2000 to January 2003, Captain Nelson served as series commander and company commander, 2d Recruit Training Battalion, Parris Island, South Carolina.
From January 2003 to June 2005, he served as the Logistics Officer, Assistant Operations Officer, and Rifle Company Commander in 1st Battalion, 7th Marines (1/7). While in 1/7, he deployed in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM and 2.2.
From June 2005 to June 2008, he served as the Company Grade Infantry Monitor and as the Head of Company Grade Assignments, Manpower Management Officer Assignments in Quantico Virginia.
From 2008 to June 2012, Major Nelson served in 1st Battalion, 5th Marines. In 2009, he deployed as a Military Training Team OIC for an Iraqi Army Brigade. In December 2009, he served as the Battalion Executive Officer and deployed to Sangin, Afghanistan in support of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM. In August 2012, Major Nelson attended the Naval Command and Staff College in Newport, Rhode Island.
From June 2013 to January 2016, LtCol Nelson served as the Operations Officer, Tactical Training and Exercise Control Group (TTECG), Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, CA.
In January 2016, LtCol Nelson assumed command of 3d Battalion, 7th Marines (3/7) aboard Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, CA.