Col. Derek O'Malley has been named the new commander at Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter.
O'Malley will lead the 20th Fighter Wing, the Air Force's largest F-16 Fighting Falcon combat wing. He also will preside over the day-to-day operations of the base, which includes U.S. Army Central (Third Army), U.S. Air Force Center and 9th Air Force.
O'Malley will take the reins of the base from Col. Daniel Lasica at a change-of-command ceremony at the base on Friday. Maj. Gen. Scott Zobrist, 9th Air Force commander, will preside over the ceremony. Lasica has been the 20th Fighter Wing commander since August 2016.
O'Malley, whose fighter pilot nickname is "Maestro," was previously vice commander of the 388th Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. He was born in Albuquerque, N.M., and commissioned as a graduate of the Air Force ROTC program at Brigham Young University in 1996.
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O’Malley planned and flew in the initial “shock and awe” campaign of Operation Iraqi Freedom, according to published reports, and received the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism.