Community council gets closer look at wing's mission


SHAW AIR FORCE BASE - The Shaw-Sumter Community Council received an inside look at the 20th Fighter Wing mission on Nov. 2.

The council members toured the base and met with airmen as a way to strengthen the relationship between Shaw Air Force Base and Sumter.

Attendees received a mission brief during the tour as well as the opportunity to visit an engine test facility, the control tower and the weapon standardization hangar.

David Durham, SSCC member, said his favorite part of the tour was seeing the engine testing and the daily operations in the control tower.

Each facility they visited helped engage council members in the bigger picture of the 20th FW mission.

"Most people don't see that Shaw is a combat base," said Robert Sexton, 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs chief of community relations. "They only see the jets coming and going or the military members driving around town. Once they come out here and see the things we do, they leave forever changed."

The purpose of the community council tours is to give the members an inside view of the base and a chance to meet the airmen they are supporting and reinforce the already strong connection the base has with the community.

Being given the opportunity to speak with the airmen in their environment and learn about what they do on a daily basis was a take away of the event, Durham said.

"The most common words we hear from our neighbors who come out for their first tour is, 'I had no idea,'" Sexton said. "These visits are tremendously valuable to them and us."

Durham stated that the events gave him an opportunity to learn about the economic and social impact that Shaw provides for the local community.

Durham added that they also received an opportunity to speak with Shaw leadership and see what the community can do to continue to assist the base.

After meeting with airmen and seeing the facilities on base, the council members provided base leadership with insight on how they can assist the local community and left with a better understanding of what the 20th FW accomplishes.

By learning about the base and the airmen who make the 20th FW mission happen, Shaw leadership and members of the Sumter community reinforced an already strong relationship.