Shaw Air Force Base (IATA code: SSC) is a US military air force base situated 13.5km northwest of Sumtar county in the province of South Carolina, US.

It is one of the oldest and biggest air force bases in the US. It is owned by the United States Air Force (USAF) and operated by Air Combat Command (ACC).

History of Shaw Air Force Base

Construction of the Shaw Air Force Base on a 3,466 acre area began in June 1941 under the designation Shaw Field. The field was opened in August 1941 to provide flight training to air cadets.

It was named in the honour of the World War I martyr Lieutenant Ervin David Shaw. The Shaw field commenced its flying operations in October 1941 using BT-13 Valiants, under the jurisdiction of the army air corps southeast air corps training centre.

Training for the first batch of cadets began in December 1941 and was completed in February 1942. The operational control of the field was transferred to First Air Force and later to Continental Air Forces in April 1945. It was reassigned to Tactical Air Command in March 1946.

Shaw Field was renamed as Shaw Air Force Base in January 1948. The control of the base was handed over to Continental Air Command in December 1948, Tactical Air Command in December 1950 and finally to the Air Combat Command (ACC) in June 1992.

The headquarters of the third US Army was relocated to SSC in June 2011 as part of the 2005 base realignment and closure (BRAC) programme. It became fully operational at the base by August 2011.

Design and construction of the US military air force base

“It is one of the oldest and biggest air force bases in the US.”

Choate Construction Company was awarded an $11.5m contract by Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) in February 2009, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

The scope of work includes superseding two existing dormitories with a new multistorey dormitory comprising 144 rooms at the SSC.

The new dormitory will feature slab floors, strengthened concrete foundations, a steel frame, parking, sidewalks and access drives, fire protection systems, metal roof framing, packaged water cooled heat pumps and a heat exchanger system. The work is expected to be complete by 2011.

Building 1130 is being expanded at a cost of $14m. Work on the expansion began in March 2011 and is scheduled for completion by September 2012.

Claro Company was contracted in April 2009 to design and overhaul the entrance gate of the base. The contractual scope includes demolition of existing facilities and building of access road paths, entrance area parking facilities, a new front gate, surveillance points, personnel stations for traffic control and installation of lighting and surveillance equipment.

The overhauling is planned for completion in 2011.

Garrison facilities at the SSC

The SSC serves as headquarters for Ninth Air Force (9AF) and 20th Fighter Wing (20 FW).

“It is owned by the United States Air Force (USAF).”

The 20FW, which was activated in October 1946, carries out strategic attacks, counter-air operations, air interdiction, search and rescue and joint maritime missions.

It is organised into four groups, namely the 20th Operations Group, 20th Maintenance Group, 20th Mission Support Group and 20th Medical Group.

Other Squadrons hosted at the base include United States Air Force Central, United States Third Army, Coalition Forces Land Component Command, United States Army Central, 6802nd Air Support Operations Squadron, 55th Fighter Squadron, 77th Fighter Squadron, 79th Fighter Squadron and so on.

Air facilities at the South Carolina base

The base features two runways paved with concrete. The lengths of the runways are 3,053m and 2,439m respectively.

It can accommodate a variety of aircraft such as the F-16CJ Fighting Falcon, BT-13 Valiants, AT-6 Texan, Beech AT-10, P-47 Thunderbolt, P-61 Black Widow, F-84B Thunderjets, RF-80A, Douglas RB-66 Destroyer, McDonnell RF-101 Voodoo, McDonnell Douglas RF-4C Phantom II and A-10 Thunderbolt II.

Other facilities of Shaw Air Force Base

The SSC provides training, logistics support, temporary lodging, education, accommodation, childcare and medical care facilities. It features 105 government-owned and 630 privatised family housing units to accommodate the military personnel.

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