SHAW AIR FORCE BASE
Published August 28, 2013
Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., is home to the 20th Fighter Wing, and headquarters, Ninth Air Force, U.S. Air Forces Central, Third Army and U.S. Army Central.
The 20th FW is a unit of Ninth AF and Air Combat Command. With responsibility for the installation as host unit, the 20th FW supports nearly 30 associated units.
The base is located on more than 3,569 acres within the city limits of Sumter, S.C. The base also has custodial responsibility for approximately 12,500 acres at Poinsett Electronic Combat Range Complex southwest of Sumter and for 23.5 leased acres at the Lake Wateree Recreational Area, 38 miles northwest of Sumter, near Camden, S.C.
Originally established as a basic flying school, it was designated Shaw Field on Aug. 7, 1941 in honor of Sumter County resident 1st Lt. Ervin David Shaw.
Lieutenant Shaw was killed while flying a reconnaissance mission over France during World War I. The base's first assigned aircraft was the single-engined BT-13 "Vibrator," followed by T-6 Texan trainers. More than 8,600 pilots trained here during World War II and fought in every combat theater.
Shaw's host unit from 1946 through 1947 was the 20th Fighter Group which became the 20th FW (later Fighter Bomber Wing) until 1951. The base was assigned to Ninth Air Force Dec. 1, 1950. The 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing arrived here April 14, 1951, and then became Shaw's host unit later in the year when the 20th FW departed for Langley AFB and then England. As part of a large Air Force restructuring effort, the 363rd TRW and its subordinate units inactivated Dec. 31, 1993, and were replaced by the 20th FW on Jan. 1, 1994.
Shaw's current aircraft include 85 C- and D- model block 50 F-16CJ Fighting Falcons. The wing's 55th Fighter Squadron "Shooters", 77th FS "Gamblers," and 79th FS "Tigers" train to perform suppression or destruction of enemy air defenses, air-to-air, air-to-ground and close air support. The 20th FW is the only SEAD or "Wild Weasel" wing in the continental United States, and the largest F-16 combat wing in the U.S. Air Force and possibly in the world.
Shaw is home to over 8,200 active-duty military members, 1,200 civilian employees and approximately 12,000 family members. The base's annual payroll is $625 million.
Shaw units and personnel have played significant roles in world history by training pilots for World War II, and deploying forces to participate in the Cuban Missile Crisis, Operation URGENT FURY, Operation JUST CAUSE, Operation DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM; Joint Task Force Proven Force; Operation PROVIDE COMFORT; Operations SOUTHERN WATCH and NORTHERN WATCH; Operation ALLIED FORCE; Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, Operation IRAQI FREEDOM and most recently, Operation Unified Protector.
Shaw's associate units include the Army and Air Force Exchange Service; Air Force Audit Agency; Det. QD 20, Air Force Legal Service Agency Judiciary Area Defense Counsel; Det. 212, Air Force Office of Special Investigations; 337th U.S. Air Force Recruiting Squadron; Det. 2, 372nd Training Squadron; 609th Air Operations Group; 609th Air Support Squadron; 609th Air Intelligence Group; 609th Combat Plans Squadron; 609th Air Communications Squadron; and Defense Commissary Agency.
(Current as of August 2013)