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Shaw, local community unite

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing and members of the Shaw-Sumter Community Council (SSCC) watch a flightline simulator at the 20th Operations Support Squadron air traffic control tower at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Nov. 2, 2017.

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing and members of the Shaw-Sumter Community Council (SSCC) watch a flightline simulator at the 20th Operations Support Squadron air traffic control tower at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Nov. 2, 2017. Members of the SSCC gained insight on the Shaw mission as well as what the Airmen do during daily operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado)

Members of the Shaw-Sumter Community Council (SSCC) watch an F-16CM Fighting Falcon depart Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Nov. 2, 2017.

Members of the Shaw-Sumter Community Council (SSCC) watch an F-16CM Fighting Falcon depart Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Nov. 2, 2017. During the tour of the installation, SSCC visited an engine test facility, the control tower and the weapon standardization hangar. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado)

U.S Air Force Master Sgt. Christopher Benton, 20th Maintenance Group weapons academic instructor, speaks with members of the Shaw-Sumter Community Council (SSCC) during a tour at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Nov. 2, 2017.

U.S Air Force Master Sgt. Christopher Benton, 20th Maintenance Group weapons academic instructor, speaks with members of the Shaw-Sumter Community Council (SSCC) during a tour at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Nov. 2, 2017. Benton spoke with SSCC members about the suppression of enemy air defenses mission of the base and the various pieces of equipment used to accomplish it. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- The Shaw-Sumter Community Council received an inside look of the 20th Fighter Wing mission, Nov. 2.

The council members toured the base and met with Airmen as a way to strengthen the relationship between Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, and Sumter, S.C.

Attendees received a mission brief during the tour as well as the opportunity to visit an engine test facility, the control tower and the weapon standardization hangar.

David Durham, SSCC member, said his favorite part of the tour was seeing the engine testing and the daily operations in the control tower.

Each facility they visited helped engage council members in the bigger picture of the 20th FW mission.

“Most people don’t see that Shaw is a combat base,” said Robert Sexton, 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs chief of community relations. “They only see the jets coming and going or the military members driving around town. Once they come out here and see the things we do, they leave forever changed.”

The purpose of the community council tours is to give the members an inside view of the base and a chance to meet the Airmen they are supporting and reinforce the already strong connection the base has with the community.

Being given the opportunity to speak with the Airmen in their environment and learn about what they do on a daily basis was a take-away of today’s event, said Durham.

“The most common words we hear from our neighbors who come out for their first tour is, ‘I had no idea,’” said Sexton. “These visits are tremendously valuable to them and us.”

Durham stated that the events gave him an opportunity to learn about the economic and social impact that Shaw provides for the local community.

Durham added that they also received an opportunity to speak with Shaw AFB leadership and see what the community can do to continue to assist the base.

After meeting with Airmen and seeing the facilities on base, the council members provided base leadership with insight on how they can assist the local community and left with a better understanding of what the 20th FW accomplishes.

By learning about the base and the Airmen who make the 20th FW mission happen, Shaw AFB leadership and members of the Sumter community reinforced an already strong relationship.