History of Shaw Air Force Base

Shaw Air Force Base opened as Shaw Air Field on August 30, 1941. The base's mission was to train air cadets to fly. The airfield was named after Lieutenant Ervin David Shaw. A native of Sumter County, Lt. Shaw was one of the first combat pilots to fly in World War I. Operating under the under the authority of the Army Air Corps Southeast Air Corps Training Center, Shaw's Air Corps Basic Flying School commenced its mission to run the flying school in June. Flying activities began in October 1941. During World War II, Shaw Field housed German prisoners of war, some of whom became US citizens when the fighting ended.

After World War II, Shaw Army Airfield was transferred to the Continental Air Forces in April 1945. The following year, the Air Defense Command assumed authority over Shaw, with the airfield serving as home to the 414th and 415th Night Fighter Squadrons for nearly a year.

In September 1947, the United States established a separate branch of the military for the United States Air Force. This event led to the renaming of Shaw Army Airfield to Shaw Air Force Base in January 1948. With the Hobson Plan now in place, Shaw became home to the 20th Fighter-Bomber Wing which activated on August 15, 1947. Shaw AFB also housed the 363rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, the 432nd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, the 4411th Combat Crew Training Group, the 66th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, the 363d Fighter Wing, and the 363d Tactical Fighter Wing (363d TFW).

The end of the Cold War led to significant reductions in U.S. military personnel in Europe after the Berlin Wall fell. The 20th Fighter Wing was transferred from the now defunct flight line at RAF Upper Heyford, England and reassigned to Shaw Air Force Base in December 1993. Since the move to Shaw AFB in 1994, the 20th Fighter Wing continues its involvement in numerous missions including Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti. They supported NATO operations during the Kosovo War and enforced no-fly zones over Iraq during the 1990s.

The 20th Fighter Wing continues as the host wing at Shaw Air Force Base today. As such, it provides human resources, materials, and facilities for the operation of the base.

Volkswagen of Sumter is proud to be a part of the Sumter community, the home of Shaw Air Force Base. We recognize the contributions made by our military personnel serving at Shaw Air Force Base and want to extend our thanks to these heroic servicemen and women.

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