Passing the Torch

The 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw AFB, S.C., turned over responsibility for protecting the airspace in the southeast United States to the South Carolina Air National Guard’s 169th FW at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, announced Shaw officials Monday. Shaw’s F-16s performed the air sovereignty alert mission from Aug. 1, 2006, to May 9, 2011, after an earlier two-year stint right after 9/11, they said. “Shaw’s role in the alert mission was to defend the Southeast Air Defense Sector and the 79 million American citizens within that sector from airborne threats,” said Col. James Sears, commander of Shaw’s 20th Operations Group. The South Carolina Air Guardsmen also fly F-16s. The ASA mission requires three dedicated, armed alert aircraft—two primaries and one spare—at an alert location, with two pilots and associated maintenance and support personnel on duty at all times. (Shaw report by SrA. Alexandria Mosness)