The Shaw Air Force Base Honorary Commanders Program provides an opportunity for commanders and senior leaders to build strong, positive and lasting relationships with local community leaders. The program allows us to explore mutual areas of interest and help increase the public understanding of military missions, assets and people.

The Honorary Commanders feature community members and leaders from a number of locations around the Greater Sumter Community.  Additionally, participants represent a wide range of experience from government to private business owners and professionals.  These Honorary Commanders will serve for two years.

Newest Members

HCC News

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 https://www.shaw.af.mil/Public-Affairs/Community-Engagement/Honorary-Commander-Program/

Class of 2023-2025

20th FW

David Merchant - Mayor, City of Sumter

Kim Hatchell - Manager, Galloway & Mosely Jewelers

Keith Troup - Chief Operating Officer, SAFE Fed. Credit Union


20th OG

Steve Lauzon - Surgeon, Prisma Health 

Barney Gadson - Executive Director, MH Newton Family Life Enrichment Center

Derek Burress - Marketing Rep for Community Broadcasters

Breanna Hughes - Director of Programs & Events, Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce

William Hancock - Realtor, ReMax Summit


20th MXG

Cathy Bishop - Thompson Construction Group

Cheryl Baker - Manager, Hyatt Place

Lee Glaze - Senior Account Manager, Dominion Energy

Tina McKeithan - Senior Human Resources Manager, Life Sciences 

Dr. Kevin Pollock - Central Carolina Technical College 


20th MSG

Dr. William T. Wright - Superintendent, Sumter School District

Greg Hoffman -  VP, Operations, Nova Molecular Technologies

Chip Chase -  PR Director, FTC

Josh Glenn - Financial Advisor, Stifel

Ariel Wilkie Floyd - Dillard Financial Solutions

Chuck Wilson

Timothy Baxley - Clarendon County Sheriff


20 MDG

Annie Rivers - Executive Director, Sumter County Museum

NancyHunter Blanding 


Tenant Units

Jennifer Saucier - Owner, The HIVE at Lavender Estate

Dr. Kent Washington - Owner, Washington Orthodontics

Ricky McLeod - Owner, Willie Sues

Herman Wescott - Realtor, ReMax Summit

Hugh Gaymon - Gaymon Realty 

Richard Cook - Business Development Manager, Air Solutions 

George McLaughlin - Owner, McLaughlin Ford