Shaw Air Force Base

Shaw Air Force Base

Infobox Airport
name = Shaw Air Force Base
nativename = Part of Air Combat Command (ACC)

image-width = 300
caption = Shaw AFB, 1994

image2-width = 200
caption2 = Location of Shaw Air Force Base
type = Military: Air Force Base
owner = U.S. Air Force
location = Sumter, South Carolina
built = 1941
used =
commander = Colonel [ James N. Post III]
occupants = 20th Fighter Wing, Ninth Air Force, United States Central Command Air Forces
elevation-f = 242
elevation-m = 74
coordinates = coord|33|58|23|N|080|28|22|W|region:US_type:airport
website = []
r1-number = 4L/22R
r1-length-f = 10,016
r1-length-m = 3,053
r1-surface = Concrete
r2-number = 4R/22L
r2-length-f = 8,001
r2-length-m = 2,439
r2-surface = Concrete
footnotes = Sources: official web site [ Shaw Air Force Base] , official web site] and FAAFAA-airport|ID=SSC|use=PR|own=MA|site=22538.*A, effective 2007-12-20]

Shaw Air Force Base airport codes|SSC|KSSC|SSC is the home of the United States Air Force's 20th Fighter Wing (20 FW) of the the Air Combat Command (ACC), which functions as the installation's host wing. It is also home to Headquarters, Ninth Air Force (9 AF) and Headquarters, United States Air Forces Central (USAFCENT), formerly known until March 2008 as United States Central Command Air Forces (USCENTAF).

The mission of the 20 FW is to provide, project, and sustain combat-ready air forces. It is the Air Force's largest combat F-16 wing.

Shaw AFB is located about 10 miles northwest of Sumter, South Carolina.

20th Fighter Wing

The 20th Fighter Wing is the host unit at Shaw, arriving on January 1, 1994 from RAF Upper Heyford, England, replacing the deactivating 363d Fighter Wing. The 20 FW's operational fighter squadrons are:

* 55th Fighter Squadron (55 FS)
* 77th Fighter Squadron (77 FS)
* 79th Fighter Squadron (79 FS)

The 20 FW F-16CJ Fighting Falcons are tail coded "SW".

The 20 FW, as the host wing, also retains the responsibility for providing facilities, personnel, and material for the operation of Shaw. The wing staff includes: Inspector General, command post, judge advocate, safety, public affairs, historian, comptroller, manpower and organization, military equal opportunity office, and the chapel program.

The 20th Mission Support Group (20 MSG) at Shaw supports more than 5,400 military and civilian employees and 11,000 family members. The 20 MSG is also responsible for thousands of acres of land, including the 24-acre outdoor recreation area located 37 miles northwest on Lake Wateree, and the approximately 12,000-acre Poinsett Electronic Combat Range located about 10 miles southwest of the base.

BRAC 2005

In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to relocate the Third US Army Headquarters support office from Fort Gillem and Fort McPherson, GA to Shaw AFB. This was a portion of a larger recommendation that would close Fort Gillem and Fort McPherson.

DoD also recommended to realign Moody AFB by relocating base-level ALQ-184 intermediate maintenance to Shaw, establishing a Centralized Intermediate Repair Facility (CIRF) at Shaw for ALQ-184 pods. DoD also recommended to realign Shaw AFB by relocating base-level TF-34 engine intermediate maintenance to Bradley ANGB, Connecticut.


World War II

Construction began at Shaw Army Airfield on June 27, 1941. Major Burton M. Hovey became the first base commander on August 30, 1941. The base was named in honor of 1st Lt Ervin David Shaw, one of the first Americans to fly combat missions in World War I. Shaw, a Sumter County native, died after three enemy aircraft attacked his Bristol while he was returning from a reconnaissance mission.

As one of the largest flying fields in the United States, Shaw Field’s first task was to train cadets to fly. The first group of cadets entered training December 15, 1941, and the last basic class graduated March 9, 1945. The basic flying school at Shaw Field had trained more than 8,600 service members to fly in AT-6s and AT-10s. When the mission changed, P-47 Thunderbolts arrived to replace the basic trainers, and pilots began coming to Shaw for fighter transition training until the end of the war.

Major USAAF tenant units at Shaw Army Airfield were:

* 77th Air Base Squadron (Established 8 October 1941)
* 454th School Squadron (3 November 1941)
* 2142d Army Air Force Base Unit (1 May 1944)
* 139th Army Air Force Base Unit (31 March 1945)
* 161st Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron
* 67th Reconnaissance Group (February - March 1946) (administratively reassigned from MacDill AAF, Florida; not equipped or manned – unit inactivated March 1946)

For a brief time, Shaw Field also served as a prisoner-of-war camp. The first group of German POWs arrived on March 1, 1945. Eventually, 175 of them lived in an encampment just off the main base, on Peach Orchard Road (also known as South Carolina Hwy 441) across from Shaw's (side) hospital (currently closed) gate and worked on local farms in the area. They departed in the early months of 1946 for the rebuilding of European cities and towns that were devastated during the war. Those prisoners were eventually repatriated to Germany around 1947 or so, with some returning to the Shaw and Sumter area and obtaining their U.S. citizenship.

414th/415th Night Fighter Squadrons

From July 1946 until May 1947 Shaw was the home of the 414th and 415th Night Fighter Squadrons. The squadrons flew the P-61 Black Widow in Europe during World War II, and were deactivated at the end of hostilities. At Shaw, the reactivated squadrons flew the F-4 reconnaissance version of the P-38 Lightning and were initially directly under Tactical Air Command. They were transferred to Ninth Air Force in November 1946.

The 414th was transferred to Sixth Air Force at Rio Hato AB, Panama in March 1947. The 415th was inactivated due to budget reductions in May 1947 at Shaw.

20th Fighter Group

The 20th Fighter Group was reassigned to Shaw Army Airfield on 20 October 1946 from Biggs AFB, Texas. The 20th FG had three operational fighter squadrons (55th, 77th and 79th). Initially the group flew the North American P-51D Mustang, upgrading to the Republic Aviation F-84B Thunderjet in 1948.

On 13 January, 1948, Shaw Army Airfield was renamed Shaw Air Force Base, and the 20th became the 20th Fighter-Bomber Wing.

The 20th FG was reassigned to Langley AFB, Virginia on 1 December 1951 in preparation for a permanent overseas deployment to RAF Wethersfield, England to support NATO.

161st Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron

On 23 September 1949 the 161st Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron was transferred to Shaw from the 363d TRW at Langley AFB Virginia. The 161st flew the Lockheed RF-80A reconnaissance version of the F-80 Shooting Star. A reduction in Air Force units in April 1949 led to a consolidation of units at fewer bases. With the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, the mission of the 161st was to train replacement reconnaissance aircraft pilots.

The 161st TFS became the nucleus on which the 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing's mission at Shaw AFB when the wing transferred there in 1951.

363d Tactical Reconnaissance/Fighter Wing

On 1 April 1951, the 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing was transferred to Shaw from Langley Air Force Base, Virginia and doubled the activity at Shaw AFB.

In addition to the 363 TRW, Headquarters Ninth Air Force was transferred to Shaw from Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina on 1 September, 1954.

The 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing would remain at Shaw, under various designations, for the next 43 years. The wing's mission was to fly photographic, electronic and electronic intelligence missions to support both air and ground operations by American or Allied ground forces. In addition, the 363rd provided combat crew training for reconnaissance aircrews.

During the tenure of the 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Shaw AFB (1951 - 1993), the wing was the first USAF operational unit equipped with the following aircraft:

* Martin RB-57A Canberra
* Douglas RB-66 Destroyer
* McDonnell RF-101 Voodoo
* McDonnell Douglas RF-4C Phantom II

Over the next four decades, the squadrons under the 363 TRW changed frequently. Two Tactical Reconnaissance Wings were formed at Shaw AFB from 363 TRW assets and went on to have their own separate histories in Europe (66 TRW) and Southeast Asia (432 TRW). Nearly all tactical reconnaissance aircraft aircrews in the United States Air Force were trained or stationed at Shaw Air Force Base.

By 1980, the advent of reconnaissance satellites made the need for tactical aircraft reconnaissance less and less necessary. The aging and phaseout of the 1960s-era RF-4C aircraft fleet and the utility of the Lockheed TR-1 in Europe for tactical reconnaissance led to the decision by the USAF to realign the mission of the 363 TRW. The reconnaissance training mission of the wing was terminated in 1981 and beginning in 1982, the wing would become a tactical fighter organization, reorienting the wing to a Tactical Fighter mission for the first time since 1944.

On 1 October 1981, the 363 TRW was re-designated as the 363rd Tactical Fighter Wing (363 TFW). The wing received its first F-16 on March 26, 1982. The 363 TFW flew F-16A/B Block 10 aircraft until 1984 then converted to Block 15s; F-16C/D Block 25s in autumn 1985 and Block 42s in late 1991. All aircraft carried the "SW" Tail Code.

As a result of the end of the Cold War, the Air Force made several dramatic changes with the inactivation and re-designation of wings and their units. The 363rd FW and all of its squadrons were inactivated at Shaw AFB on 1 January 1994, being replaced by the 20th Fighter Wing, being reassigned to Shaw from deactivating RAF Upper Heyford, England without personnel or equipment. The 363 TFW was inactivated and its operational fighter squadrons were re-designated as follows:

* 17th Fighter Squadron -> 77th Fighter Squadron (F-16C/D)
* 19th Fighter Squadron -> 78th Fighter Squadron (F-16C/D)
* 21st Fighter Squadron -> 55th Fighter Squadron (OA-10A)
* 309th Fighter Squadron -> 79th Fighter Squadron (F-16C/D)

66th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing

On 1 January 1953 the 66th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing was activated at Shaw, replacing the 118 TRW, the title of which reverted to the Tennessee Air National Guard after World War II, where the 66th Fighter Group served in the European theater as part of Eighth Air Force.

The 66th Reconnaissance (later, Strategic Reconnaissance) Group, was a part of Strategic Air Command (SAC) from July 1947 - May 1951, at Barksdale AFB, Louisiana as an Air Force Reserve corollary unit under the guidance of active duty units in order to train and maintain currency in reconnaissance operations for its reserve personnel.

The 66 TRW was formed at Shaw AFB from the RB-26 assets of 18 TRS and RF-80s transferred from South Korea. Wing and squadrons trained at Shaw prior to deployment to NATO. The squadrons formed and activated were:

* 30th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (Night Photo) (RB-26, Yellow Tails)
* 302nd Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (Jet Photo) (RF-80A, Red Tails)
* 303rd Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (RF-51D, RF-80A, Blue Tails)

On 25 June 1953, the 66 TRW departed Shaw, being reassigned to Sembach Air Base, West Germany. Just prior to the wing's deployment to NATO, the 303 TRS was reequipped with RF-80As.

432nd Tactical Reconnaissance Group/Wing

On 23 March 1953, the 432d Tactical Reconnaissance Group was activated at Shaw. The 432nd was a former World War II reconnaissance training unit that served briefly in 1943 as the operational unit of the USAAF School of Applied Tactics at Orlando AAB, Florida.

The 432nd's mission at Shaw AFB was to assume the reconnaissance training mission that was handled previously by the 363 TRW. When elevated to the 432d Tactical Reconnaissance Wing on 8 February 1958, the wing operated the USAF Advanced Flying Training School, Tactical Reconnaissance. The 432 TRW and 363 TRW both were under the 837th Air Division, headquartered at Shaw.

The initial operational squadrons of the 432 TRG were:

* 20th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (March 1954 - February 1958) (RF-84F 1954-57, RF-101C 1957-58)
(Activated March 1954, assigned to 432 TRW March 1958)
* 29th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (March 1954 - February 1958) (RF-84F 1954-57, RF-101C 1957-58)
(Activated March 1954, assigned to 432 TRW March 1958)
* 41st Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (March 1954 - February 1958) (RB-57A, 1954-56, EB-66C 1956-58)
(Activated March 1954, transferred to 363 TRW February 1958)
* 43d Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (March 1954 - February 1958) (RB-57A, 1954-56, EB-66C 1956-58)
(Activated March 1954, transferred to 363 TRW February 1958)

The group initially conducted training with two squadrons (20th, 29th) flying the Republic RF-84F "Thunderflash" and two squadrons (41st, 43d, flying the Martin RB-57A "Canberra". In 1957, the group upgraded the 20th and 29th to the McDonnell RF-101C "Voodo", and the 41st and 43d transitioned to the electronic warfare EB-66C Destroyer.

With the elevation to wing status, the 432 TFW was realigned to a four squadron RF-101C wing as follows:

* Added two additional RF-101C training squadrons:
17th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (March 1958 - May 1959) (RF-101A/C)
(Transferred from 363 TRW)
18th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (March 1958 - May 1959) (RF-101A/C)
(Transferred from 363 TRW)

* The 20th and 29th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadrons continued their training missions under the 432 TRW as RF-101C squadrons.

In a budgetary move, the 432 TRW was deactivated on 8 April 1959. The RF-101C equipped 17th and 18th TRSs were deployed to NATO, being reassigned to the 66th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing at Laon-Couvron Air Base, France.

The Shaw training mission taken over by the 4411th Combat Crew Training Group, consisting of the:

* 20th and 29th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadrons (RF-101C)
* 41st and 43d Tactical Reconnaissance Squadrons (EB-66C)

The 4411 CCTG became an operational group under the 363 TRW and continued the training mission at Shaw for reconnaissance aircraft until both it and the 837th Air Division were inactivated on 1 February 1963. All assets from these organizations were then transferred to the 363 TFW.

The 432 TRW was reactivated on 18 September 1966 as the host unit at Udon RTAFB Thailand. At Udon, it became one of the most diversified unit of its size in the Air Force.

Shaw Air Force Base Aircraft

See also

* Air Combat Command
* Ninth Air Force
* United States Central Command
* Tactical Air Command
* 20th Fighter Group (World War II)
* 66th Air Base Wing
* 432d Wing
* South Carolina World War II Army Airfields


"This article includes content from [ Shaw AFB Website's history page] ."

* Donald, David (2004). Century Jets: USAF Frontline Fighters of the Cold War. AIRtime. ISBN 1880588684
* Endicott, Judy G. (1999) Active Air Force wings as of 1 October 1995; USAF active flying, space, and missile squadrons as of 1 October 1995. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. CD-ROM.
* Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0892010924.
* Menard, David W. (1993). USAF Plus Fifteen - A Photo History 1947 - 1962. Schiffer Pub Ltd. ISBN 0887404839
* Martin, Patrick (1994). Tail Code: The Complete History of USAF Tactical Aircraft Tail Code Markings. Schiffer Military Aviation History. ISBN 0887405134.
* Mueller, Robert (1989). Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982. USAF Reference Series, Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-53-6
* Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947-1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0912799129.
* Rogers, Brian (2005). United States Air Force Unit Designations Since 1978. Hinkley, England: Midland Publications. ISBN 1-85780-197-0.
* [ USAAS-USAAC-USAAF-USAF Aircraft Serial Numbers--1908 to present]
* [ Joe Baugher's Encyclopedia Of Military Aircraft]
* [ Early Photo Jet Recon, Colonel Jean K. Woodyard, USAF Retired]

External links

* [ Shaw AFB] , public website
* [ Ninth Air Force]

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