From 21st Space Wing Public Affairs Office
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Col. John Shaw took command of the 21st Space Wing from outgoing commander, Col. Chris Crawford, at the wing change of command ceremony July 26.
Lt. Gen. Susan Helms, commander of U.S. Strategic Command’s Joint Functional Component Command for Space and 14th Air Force (Air Forces Strategic), presided over the ceremony.
“I’m exceptionally grateful today to be taking what I think is going to be the best job I’ve ever had on this wild ride called an Air Force career,” said Shaw. “This is a team that’s at the top of its game. I couldn’t ask for more than to lead such a team.”
As the 21st SW commander, Shaw is responsible for the global missile warning and space control capabilities of the 21st SW including more than 4,300 military and civilian Airmen, six installations and 34 operating locations spread across 13 time zones.
The 21st Space Wing also operates and sustains Peterson Air Force Base, home of more than 10,000 military, civilian and contractor personnel and 53 tenant organizations, including NORAD and USNORTHCOM, and Air Force Space Command headquarters.
Previously, Shaw served as the senior policy advisor for the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Space Policy at the Pentagon. This assignment gave Shaw special insight into the missions of the 21st SW.
“I just came from a year at the Pentagon where the most strategic issues that were being discussed day to day were these: homeland defense and defense of North America,” said Shaw, noting that the 21st SW directly supports the U.S. NORTHCOM and NORAD headquarters.
Space surveillance, missile warning and space control are other strategic issues being discussed at the Pentagon, added Shaw, and the 21st Space Wing at Peterson and around the world operates and sustains these missions.
Shaw also ensured the Airmen of the 21st SW that he will work hard to provide the tools they need to complete their missions.
“My commitment to the wing is to ensure that you’ll have, especially in this environment of diminishing resources, all of the resources, and the tools, and the training, and the proper environment, both work place and living, to make sure that you can get the job done,” said Shaw. “That is my commitment to you.”
In closing, Shaw shared his emotions for this new assignment and the future of the 21st SW.
“I’m humbled by the challenges and the responsibility that lie ahead, but I’m also excited about the future that lies ahead for the 21st Space Wing,” said Shaw. “I can’t wait to get started and I know that we as a team are going to do some wonderful things.”