By Senior Airman Christopher Maldonado, 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published December 27, 2018
SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- The numerous units and Airmen assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing close-out the new year with countless achievements and memories to propel them into the new year.
The mission would have been hindered without the support of the 20th Mission Support Group, 20th Medical Group, 20th Maintenance Group, 20th Operations Group and the squadrons below them.
With the unrivaled support from base leadership, the wing’s units carried a new-level of excellence throughout the year.
“We are a fighter wing and I know we’ve got important work to do, many battles ahead,” said Col. Derek O’Malley, 20th FW commander, during a change of command ceremony early June. “As we send Airmen into combat and F-16s into combat, and battles here at home threaten our time and sometimes our sanity, I will be there with you in the trenches and in the cockpit to fight those battles. As of this moment, it is my honor to work for you.”
Each group, and the Airmen assigned to them, helped complete the mission by bringing their unique skillsets to the table.
The 20th MSG, which is comprised of the 20th Force Support Squadron, 20th Civil Engineer Squadron, 20th Communications Squadron, 20th Security Forces Squadron, 20th Logistics Readiness Squadron and the 20th Contracting Squadron, is tasked with supporting more than 5,400 military and civilian employees and 11,000 family members.
“This year I received the opportunity to train and fight fires with the guys here at the fire station,” said Airman 1st Class Rich Palmer, 20th CES firefighter. “Being able to protect and defend others alongside my brothers is my favorite part of the year”
Airmen assigned to the 20th CES fire department are on the clock 24-hour a day, seven days a week, ready to respond to any threat that may be called in.
Another achievement completed by the 20th CES consisted of the execution of Operation Salty Weasel, which helped explosive ordnance disposal Airmen react in deployed environment.
Proving a wide-array of care the 20th Medical Operations Squadron, 20th Aerospace Medicine Squadron, 20th Dental Squadron and 20th Medical Support Squadron, offer patient, dental and ambulatory care to the base populous.
To ensure that they could provide proper care downrange the 20th MDG participated in an exercise, Aug. 2, which tested Airmen on their ability to safely treat patients from a vehicle damaged by an improvised explosive device.
According to Lt. Col. Marquita Price, 20th MOS commander, during the exercise in August, the day allowed them to practice how they play and provide care in a stressful environment.
As Airmen and their families received care, Airmen assigned to the 20th MXG inspected and repaired the 79 F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 20th FW.
Consisting of the 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 20th Component Maintenance Squadron and 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron, the 20th MXG maintains the infrastructure of the F-16, troubleshoot avionics components, perform inspections and fabricate parts to complete the mission.
The 20th MXG deployed alongside the 55th Fighter Squadron in support of Operation Inherent Resolve earlier this year.
According to Airman 1st Class Yuri Morin, 20th AMXS crew chief, during a 55th Fighter Squadron deployment, everyone ahead of him, and those below him, have helped guide him and get him ready to accomplish the mission downrange.
Following the maintenance and after receiving the green light to take to the skies, the 20th OG provides a safe flightline and airspace environment for Shaw’s pilots.
The 20th OG is made up of the 20th Operations Support Squadron and a skilled group of pilot’s assigned to the 55th Fighter Squadron “Shooters,” 77th Fighter Squadron “Gamblers” and the 79th Fighter Squadron “Tigers.”
The installation performed numerous phase one and phase two exercises, which tested the installations responses to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats; and the wing utilized surges to gain flying-hours lost to adverse weather conditions throughout the year.
The wing’s excellence showed in the bestowment of the Air Combat Command Meritorious Unit Award, which is awarded to an organization for their outstanding achievements or service in direct support of combat operations.
As New Years approaches and units take the time needed to recover from an eventful year, Airmen have their eyes set on mission success and another year of numerous victories.