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February Commander's Corner

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Shawn Daley, South Carolina Air National Guard's 169th Maintenance Squadron commander at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, Jan. 13, 2021. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Lt. Col. Jim St. Clair, 169 Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Shawn Daley, South Carolina Air National Guard's 169th Maintenance Squadron commander at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, Jan. 13, 2021. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Lt. Col. Jim St. Clair, 169 Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --

I write this column from the Red Flag 21-1 exercise at Nellis AFB, Nevada. We are currently fulfilling the exercise air tasking order putting our nation’s air and space power capabilities on full display. Red Flag 21-1 demonstrates our military’s joint capabilities through a wide array of platforms and weapons systems. Swamp Fox Airmen are putting their skills to the test logistically by getting all of our personnel and equipment out the door on practically a 72 hour call up. Operationally, Swamp Fox Airmen are putting their skills to the test by maintainers readying the aircraft to meet our air tasking order requirement. Finally, Swamp Fox Airmen are putting their skills to the test tactically by Intel, Aircrew Flight Equipment, and our operators performing the multi-domain type operations to execute the air mission. In all, there are 95 aircraft and over 2,200 deployed personnel from 16 different units participating in the Red Flag exercise. This was an amazing accomplishment from just about every function on McEntire, ensuring the wing got everything in place to execute the exercise. I am proud to be a part of the Swamp Fox family and the SCANG leadership for giving me this opportunity to be the 169th Maintenance Squadron commander. 

For those of you that I have not met and do not know me, I transferred from the 187th Fighter Wing at Dannelly Field, Montgomery, Alabama back in August, 2020. I joined the United States Air Force on January 17, 1991 as an enlisted security forces member after growing up in the state of Maine. I was stationed at Eielson AFB, Alaska and Minot AFB, North Dakota before leaving active duty after my four year enlistment. I transferred to the Air Force Reserves for a year and a half after moving to Alabama and left the service in August, 1996. I attended Auburn University (WAR EAGLE) and got a job carrying mail for the United States Postal Service. This is where my Guard story begins. A fellow mail carrier told me about the Air National Guard which I did not know much about. He was a drill status guardsman in ammo. I eventually decided to check out the Guard figuring it was a good way to supplement my retirement as a federal employee. I also missed the camaraderie of serving in the Air Force. I decided to join and go back to my security forces roots as a senior airman. I would join and drill for the first time in May, 2001. I remember the saying “Join the Air National Guard because we rarely go anywhere.”  After September 11th, the Air National Guard would forever change. I commissioned as a maintenance officer in 2008. I stayed a drill status guardsman up to 2014 and then transferred from being a postmaster to becoming a federal military technician serving as the senior intelligence officer at the 187th Fighter Wing.  I got the opportunity to be the wing executive officer and then attended Marine Corps Command and Staff College in Quantico, Virginia from 2019 to 2020.  My wife Jen and I would then transition to McEntire JNGB, after finishing Command and Staff College. 

I am honored to now be the 169th Maintenance Squadron commander and a member of the Swamp Fox family. I look forward to serving the fine men and women of the 169th Fighter Wing. Jen and I have felt welcomed by the Swamp Fox family and we are both extremely grateful. We look forward to continuing fostering the relationships across the wing and serving the Swamp Fox family in the years to come. Semper Primus.