20th Fighter Wing

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20th Fighter Wing
78th Fighter Squadron F-16C Block 50P 92-3920
Active1947–1948; 1948–present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Part ofAir Combat Command
Garrison/HQShaw Air Force Base, South Carolina
Motto(s)Victory by Valor[1]
Engagements1991 Gulf War[1]
DecorationsAir Force Outstanding Unit Award[1]
Col. Kristoffer R. Smith
Deputy CommanderCol. Kevin D. Hicok
Command ChiefCCM Christopher D. Griste
Merrill McPeak[1]
20th Fighter Wing emblem[note 1][1]

The 20th Fighter Wing is a wing of the United States Air Force and the host unit at Shaw Air Force Base South Carolina. The wing is assigned to Air Combat Command's Fifteenth Air Force.

The wing's mission is to provide, project, and sustain combat-ready aircraft in conventional and anti-radiation suppression of enemy air defenses, strategic attack, counter-air, air interdiction, joint maritime operations and combat search-and-rescue missions.


Group P-51D at Shaw[note 2]

The 20th Fighter Wing was established on 20 July 1947 at Shaw Field, South Carolina and activated on 15 August. Upon its activation, the 20th commanded the functions of both the support groups as well as the flying 20th Fighter Group and the squadrons assigned to it. On 26 August 1948, the wing's 20th Airdrome Group was discontinued and its elements became realigned under the 20th Air Base Group.

On 15 December 1993, the flight line at RAF Upper Heyford was closed. The wing moved without personnel and equipment from the UK to South Carolina on 1 January 1994, inheriting the personnel and equipment of the 363d Fighter Wing.

Two F-16s from the wing collided during a training flight on 15 October 2009. One F-16, piloted by Captain Lee Bryant, was able to land safely at Shaw.[2] The other plane, piloted by Captain Nicholas Giglio, 32, apparently crashed into the ocean. Authorities believe that Giglio was killed instantly in the collision and did not eject.[3] An accident investigation board determined that the crash was caused by pilot error. The board stated that Giglio was flying too fast and was not paying adequate attention as he attempted to rejoin Bryant's aircraft for the return flight to Shaw.[4]


The 20th Fighter Wing is composed of four groups each with specific functions.[citation needed] The Operations Group controls all flying and airfield operations. The Maintenance Group performs maintenance of aircraft, ground equipment and aircraft components. The Mission Support Group has a wide range of responsibilities, a few of its functions are Security, Civil Engineering, Communications, Personnel Management, Logistics, Services and Contracting support. While the Medical Group provides medical and dental care.

55th Fighter Squadron
77th Fighter Squadron
79th Fighter Squadron
20th Operations Support Squadron
  • 20th Maintenance Group[5]
20th Component Maintenance Squadron
20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron
20th Maintenance Operations Squadron
  • 20th Mission Support Group
20th Communications Squadron
20th Contracting Squadron
20th Security Forces Squadron
20th Force Support Squadron
20th Logistics Readiness Squadron
20th Civil Engineering Squadron (20 CES)
  • 20th Medical Group
20th Health Care Operations Squadron
20th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron
  • 20th Comptroller Squadron


  • Established as the 20 Fighter Wing on 28 July 1947
Organized on 15 August 1947
Discontinued on 26 August 1948[note 3]
Activated on 24 August 1948[note 4]
Redesignated 20 Fighter-Bomber Wing on 20 January 1950
Redesignated 20 Tactical Fighter Wing on 8 July 1958
Redesignated 20 Fighter Wing on 1 October 1991[1]


Flying components[edit]


  • 20th Fighter Group (later 20 Fighter-Bomber Group, 20 Operations Group): 15 August 1947 – 26 August 1948, 14 August 1948 – 8 February 1955; 31 March 1992 – 1 January 1994; 1 January 1994 – present (detached 26 July-c. 17 December 1950 and 25 April – 10 October 1951)[1]
  • 20th Maint, Mission Support Groups etc


  • 42d Electronic Combat Squadron: assigned 1 July 1983 – 1 June 1985, attached 2 June 1985 – 24 January 1991, assigned 25 January 1991 – 1 July 1992.
  • 55th Fighter-Bomber Squadron (later 55th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Squadron): attached 15 November 1952 – 7 February 1955, assigned 8 February 1955 – 31 March 1992
  • 77th Fighter-Bomber Squadron (later 77th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 77th Fighter Squadron): attached 15 November 1952 – 7 February 1955, assigned 8 February 1955 – 31 March 1992
  • 79th Fighter-Bomber Squadron (later 79th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 79th Fighter Squadron): attached 15 November 1952 – 7 February 1955, assigned 8 February 1955 – 31 March 1992[1]


  • Shaw Field (later Shaw Air Force Base), South Carolina, 15 August 1947 – 26 August 1948, 24 August 1948 – 9 November 1951
  • Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, 9 November 1951 – 22 May 1952
  • RAF Wethersfield, England, 31 May 1952 – 1 April 1970
  • RAF Woodbridge, England, 1 October 1954 – 1 April 1970 (79th only)
  • RAF Upper Heyford, England, 1 April 1970 – 1 January 1994
  • Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, 1 January 1994 – present[1]

Aircraft operated[edit]




Explanatory notes
  1. ^ Approved 31 October 1951.
  2. ^ Aircraft is North American P-51D-30-NA Mustang serial 44-74558 at Shaw Field. Note the postwar buzz number on the fuselage, and "20th Fighter Group" written on the tail cap.
  3. ^ The experimental Table of Distribution 20th Fighter Wing was discontinued on this date. Ravenstein, p. 38.
  4. ^ The permanent Table of Organization 20th Fighter Wing was activated on this date. Ravenstein, p. 38. The two wings were consolidated on 1 October 1984.
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Robertson, Patsy (13 February 2008). "Factsheet 20 Fighter Wing (ACC)". Air Force Historical Research Agency. Retrieved 12 May 2017.
  2. ^ The Washington Post, "Plane Search Expands; Debris Seen in Atlantic", 17 October 2009.
  3. ^ Collins, Jeffrey, "Missing F-16 pilot had no chance to eject", Military Times, 18 October 2009.
  4. ^ Rolfsen, Bruce, "Report: Pilot error caused F-16s to collide", Military Times, 11 January 2010.
  5. ^ 20th AMXS reorganizes to increase agility, readiness
  6. ^ ACC order GA-010 2001
  7. ^ ACC order GA-015 2014
  8. ^ ACC order GA-157 2015
  9. ^ Air Combat Command Special Order GA-007


Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency