357th Airlift Squadron Welcomes New Commander

  • Published
  • By Bradley J. Clark
  • 908th Airlift Wing

The Commander of the 908th Operations Group, Col. Shane Devlin, bestowed command of the 357th Airlift Squadron to Lt. Col. Derek Shehee during an assumption of command ceremony Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

Shehee has more than 27 years of service in the Alabama Air National Guard and the Air Force Reserve.

Devlin spoke first, highlighting the occasion and thanking members in the audience.

“It’s a wonderful day,” said Devlin. “It’s a great opportunity to present to everyone here the new commander of the 357th.”

Then Devlin highlighted his faith and confidence in Shehee’s ability to lead the 357th AS forward in this unique experience.

“What I look for in a leader is for them to be bold,” explained Devlin. “One who is willing to take risk. There is going to be great opportunity for us to take risk here moving forward. We have the opportunity to cut a new path and I have full faith that you are going to be bold in your leadership style and assume that risk. I am also looking for excellence. He joined in 1996 as an enlisted member, in 2000 he became an officer, and since then he has led and excelled in the aircraft and was a rapid riser. I have no doubt that he will continue to do excellent in everything he does moving forward.”

Devlin continued his comments by talking about the future and how Shehee is ready for what may come.

“I need a tenacious leader, one that will make decisions,” said Devlin. “In a time when we have a lot of opportunities to make decisions, if you are void of that ability to make decisions, someone else will make that decision for you. I know that Lt. Col. Shehee will be that leader that will make those decisions, make the tough calls, and move forward.”

Devlin closed his comments by letting the squadron know that they have the right leader at the right time.

“Men and women of the 357th and the 908th Airlift Wing, I tell you right now that I have full faith and confidence that Lt. Col. Shehee will continue to give us his best,” said Devlin.

Most recently Shehee served as the director of operations for the 357th AS. Prior to that, he was the squadron commander of the 779th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait.

After assuming command, Shehee thanked wing leadership for being at the ceremony and then turned his attention to Devlin.

“Col. Devlin, this last year has been awesome working for you,” said Shehee. “I can’t wait for the next few years; it’s going to be a fun time.”

Then Shehee thanked some key mentors in the audience.

“To all the retirees in the back, who have helped me so much throughout the years, I really appreciate everything you all have done for me,” said Shehee. “Thank you.”

Shehee then turned his attention to the 23rd Flying Training Squadron, the Air Force unit charged with training undergraduate aircrew members in all aspects of helicopter operations for follow-on training in special operations, combat search and rescue (CSAR), missile support and distinguished visitor airlift missions. The 908th has worked closely with the 23rd FTS as the wing continues to transition to its new mission as the formal training unit for the MH-139A Grey Wolf helicopter.

“To the 23rd, that six months I spent down there was awesome,” said Shehee. “I can only hope that I can make this squadron close to what you all have down there. Everything about you all has been awesome, and I appreciate you all working with us.”

Shehee then shared his feelings about the 908th AW.

“To the 908th, I know I have been in this wing for a long time, but this is one of the best wings I have ever been a part of,” said Shehee. “Thanks everybody for everything.”

Shehee thanked his family and then closed with focusing on the 357th AS.

“To the 357th, one of my greatest honors in the last 27 years was being the commander during our last deployment together,” said Shehee. “Just watching how hard everyone worked, through Covid and everything else, to get us to the most prepared I think we have ever been for a deployment. Then to go deploy and do more than we have ever done during a deployment, really well. And that really excites me going forward because that’s going to be the group that brings up the 703rd going into the future, thank you everyone.”

Shehee first enlisted in the Air National Guard in August 1996. After graduating from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida, he was commissioned through the Academy of Military Science at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tennessee, in June 2004.