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Shaw welcomes new honorary commanders, refreshes program

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Erin Stanley
  • 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The shaking ground and reverberating sound of aircraft taking off welcomed Sumter leaders to Hangar 712 just prior to the Honorary Commander Induction Ceremony Feb. 24, 2023. Following the aircraft’s departure, Team Shaw senior leadership welcomed local leaders as the base’s newest honorary commanders to join a valued, long-standing union between civilians and service members.

The purpose of the honorary commander program is to increase public awareness and understanding of Shaw’s mission, policies and programs to build stronger, lasting relationships within the Greater Sumter community. The program features a diverse group of 32 local leaders, providing them the opportunity to share insights, ideas and their knowledge of the community with Shaw’s leadership, all while gaining a deeper understanding of what Shaw’s units contribute to the U.S Air Force’s mission.

“Though you come from many different backgrounds and have varied experience and familiarity with the military, we know that you are some of the truest patriots in the local community," said U.S. Air Force Col. Kristoffer Smith, 20th Fighter Wing commander. “We are looking forward to bringing you into the fold and enabling you to understand the U.S. Air Force and everything Shaw brings to the fight in a deeper way over the next two years.” 

This two-year partnership also provides civil leaders from the local community the opportunity to gain knowledge and awareness of the mission by witnessing firsthand how Shaw Airmen operate. 

“I’ve grown up in the Sumter area around Shaw, so getting the opportunity to remain closely involved with the base through the honorary commander program gives me unique insights that few people have the opportunity to experience,” said Mr. William “Chip” Chase, 20th Communications Squadron honorary commander. “I get the opportunity to meet and have conversations with the people who make Shaw go.” 

The program introduces base commanders and squadron leadership to the culture and heritage of the Greater Sumter community through partnerships with civil leaders from the local community. 

For more information regarding the honorary commander program, visit