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Shaw AFB, South Carolina

Shaw is home of Ninth Air Force and the 20th Fighter Wing, which flies F-16s serves as the host unit.

Shaw AFB was activated on 30 August 1941, it was designated Shaw Field in honor of First Lieutenant Ervin Shaw. Shaw's first task was to train cadets to fly. For a brief period it served as a prisoner-of-war camp.

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 arrived on Dec. 4, 1941, and many of them would go on to become aces in Europe and the Pacific. For a brief time, Shaw Field also served as a prisoner-of-war camp. The first group of German POWs arrived in 1945. Eventually, 175 of them were housed near Shaw Field's main entrance. The departed in the early months of 1946.

Following World War II, the 20th Fighter-Bomber Group arrived at Shaw Field with its P-51 Mustang fighters. The 20th FG later swapped its Mustangs for Shaw's first jet aircraft, the P-84 Thunderjet.

The 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing transferred from Langley AFB, Va., on April 1, 1951 and doubled the activity at Shaw AFB. By November, however, the 20th Fighter-Bomber Wing transferred to Langley AFB and the 363rd became the parent wing at Shaw. It was redesignated the 20th Fighter Wing Jan. 1, 1994. Headquarters 9th Air Force was assigned to Shaw from Pope AFB, N.C., Sept 1, 1954.

Along with the jet age came the opportunity for the pilots of the 363rd to set a new world speed record. On Nov. 27, 1957, four "Voodoos" (RF-101 aircraft) assigned to Shaw lifted off the runway from Ontario County Airport in California. The planes headed for New York and a place in history. The flight, known as Operation Sun Run, successfully broke the transcontinental flight record. The trip took three hours and seven minutes at a record speed of 781.74 miles per hour.

In the autumn of 1962, the 363 TRW (later redesignated the 363 TFW) played a role in the military response to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Utilizing their RF-101s for low altitude photo reconnaissance missions, they helped identify and track activites at Cuban missile sites, airfields and port facilities. In awarding the wing the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, President John F. Kennedy said, "You gentlemen have contributed as much to the security of the United States as any group of men in our history."

The first RF-4C aircraft arrived at Shaw AFB in 1965, and shortly after, the 16th TRS became the first combat ready RF-4C squadron in the Air Force.

On Oct. 1, 1981, the 363rd TRW was redesignated as the 363rd Tactical Fighter Wing. The wing received its first F-16 on March 26, 1982.

The 1990s will forever be remembered as the decade of the conflict that revolutionized modern warfare. Within a week of Iraq's Aug. 2, 1990, invasion of Kuwait, the 363rd deployed the first F-16 Fighting Falcons to the Persian Gulf. During the first few critical weeks of Operation Desert Shield, the brave men and women of the 363rd were the only Air Force unit capable of stopping the Iraqi ground forces from rolling into Saudi Arabia.

In the weeks that followed, more than 2,500 people and more than 3,300 air tons of equipment deployed from Shaw to the Persian Gulf. When Operation Desert Shield turned into Operation Desert Storm, the 363rd was called upon to deliver massive air strikes against the backbone of the Iraqi military industrial complex.

Following Desert Storm, the 19th and 33rd Tactical Fighter Squadrons deployed to the Persian Gulf in support of Operation Southern Watch, a coalition effort to enforce the Iraqi "No Fly Zone" south of the 32nd parallel. The 33rd TFS (inactivated July 1993) made history when one of its pilots downed an Iraqi aircraft with an AIM-120 missile. The incident marked the first time an AIM-120 missile was fired in combat and was the first U.S. F-16 air-to-air kill.

In the aftermath of the Gulf War, the Air Force has undergone several dramatic changes. Not only were the Tactical Air Command, Military Airlift Command and the Strategic Air Command reformed into two central commands, Air Mobility Command and Air Combat Command, and the Air Force downsized, but with the restructuring also came inactivation and redesignation of wings and their units. The 363rd FW and its squadrons - 17th, 19th, 21st, and 309th Fighter Squadrons, were inactivated on Jan. 1, 1994. On the same day the wing and its units were redesignated as the 20th Fighter Wing and the 55th, 77th, 78th and 79th Fighter Squadrons.

BRAC 2005

In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to relocate the 3rd US Army Headquarters support office from Ft. Gillem amd Fort McPherson, GA to Shaw Air Force Base, SC. This was a portion of a larger recommendation that would close Fort Gillem and Fort McPherson.

DoD estimated that this relocation would enhance the Army's military value, would be consistent with the Army's Force Structure Plan, and would maintain adequate surge capabilities to address future unforeseen requirements. According to DoD, these closures would allow the Army to employ excess capacities at installations that could accomplish more than administrative missions. The recommended relocations also would retain or enhance vital linkages between the relocating organizations and other headquarters activities. 3rd Army would relocate to Shaw AFB where it would be collocated with the Air Force component command of CENTCOM.

DoD Community Infrastructure Assessment: When moving from Fort Gillem to Shaw AFB, DoD estimated that the following local capabilities would be improved: Cost of Living and Population. DoD estimated that the following capabilities would not be as robust: Housing, Education, Medical, Transportation and Safety. When moving from Fort McPherson to Shaw AFB, DoD estimated that the following local capability would be improved: Cost of Living. The following local area capabilities would not be as robust: Housing, Education, Medical and Safety. DoD estimated that there would be no known community infrastructure impediments to implementation of all recommendations affecting the installations in this recommendation.

DoD also recommended to realign Moody AFB by relocating base-level ALQ-184 intermediate maintenance to Shaw Air Force Base, SC, establishing a Centralized Intermediate Repair Facility (CIRF) at Shaw AFB for ALQ-184 pods. This recommendation would also realign Shaw AFB by relocating base-level TF-34 engine intermediate maintenance to Moody AFB establishing a CIRF at Moody Air Force Base for TF-34 engines. The CIRFs at Moody and Shaw would compliment force structure moves and anticipate these bases as workload centers for these commodities. Assuming no economic recovery, DoD estimated that this recommendation could result in a maximum potential reduction of 40 jobs (23 direct jobs and 17 indirect jobs) over the 2006-2011 period in the Sumter, SC, economic area (less than 0.1 percent).

DoD also recommended to realign Shaw AFB by relocating base-level TF-34 engine intermediate maintenance to Bradley ANGB, establishing - along with other TF-34 engine maintenence from Selfridge AGB, MI, Martin State Airport Air Guard Station, MD and Barnes Air Guard Station, MA - a Centralized Intermediate Repair Facility (CIRF) at Bradley for TF-34 engines.Establishing a CIRF at Bradley for TF-34 engine maintenance would compliment the realignment of the A-10 fleet. The CIRF at Bradley would consolidate TF-34 engine maintenance for ANG A-10 aircraft from Barnes, Selfridge, Martin State and active duty aircraft at Spangdahlem, Germany. Assuming no economic recovery, this recommendation could result in a maximum potential reduction of 43 jobs (25 direct jobs and 18 indirect jobs) over the 2006-2011 period in the Sumter, SC, economic area (less than 0.1 percent).

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:56:39 ZULU