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20th FW changes command

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Kelsey Owen
  • 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Col. Kevin Hicok assumed command of the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw Air Force Base on June 7.

Hicok, who previously served as the 20th FW deputy commander, took command from Col. Kristoffer Smith, who will move on to his next assignment as the deputy director of plans, programs and requirements for Air Combat Command at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.

The occasion of a deputy commander assuming command of the same unit is a rare one for the U.S. Air Force. Regardless, the move is beneficial to both Hicok and the wing because it allows for a sense of familiarity and continuity that may not be present during a normal change of command.

“To the men and women of the 20th Fighter Wing: you have accomplished many amazing things over the last three years,” said Hicok. “You have shown your mettle in combat over multiple deployments, persevered through austere challenges, stood side by side through triumph and tragedy, led through change and created a wing of warriors ready today to fight tomorrow’s fight.”

Hicok is an accomplished F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot with over 2,000 flying hours, including 191 combat hours. He arrived at Shaw with his wife and three children in July 2021 after serving two years with the Joint Staff at the Pentagon.

Now, having served as the 20th FW deputy commander for the past three years, Hicok has local experience that will inform his leadership of the wing.

“Today’s battlefield demands change across the board,” said Hicok. “We face significant challenges with state actors…as well as extremist threats, all within the context of great power competition. Change is never easy and it often creates uncertainty. But we are not just facing challenges, we are rising to meet them head on with relentless combat spirit.”