Navy Capt. R. Chandler Swallow became the new commander of the Joint Warfare Analysis Center (JWAC) in a change of command ceremony on August 15, replacing Navy Capt. Gary Shoman who retired after 30 years of naval service. Swallow is the ninth commander of JWAC and the first surface warfare officer to lead the 400-person command.
“Those of you who don’t work at JWAC probably don’t know what they do,” said Air Force Gen. C. Robert Kehler, Commander, U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), the guest speaker at the ceremony. “But, it’s awesome. The American military’s success over the last 20 years is measured by JWAC’s success.”
Held at the AEGIS Training & Readiness Center, the ceremony combined a change of command with a retirement ceremony for JWAC’s outgoing commander, Captain Gary Shoman.
“There are reasons why Gary has completed a successful military career,” Kehler said. “Anyone whose call sign is Showdog, that’s an attack pilot,” noting that Shoman had made more than 800 carrier landings in his career as a naval aviator.
“You don’t find a more dedicated naval officer, a more dedicated joint officer, and a more dedicated professional to doing the nation’s business,” Kehler said. “I see the benefits of that when I see the approach that JWAC takes to its work every day.”
Kehler presented Shoman with the Defense Superior Service Medal for exceptionally distinguished service.
“(Shoman) led a unique subordinate joint service command of USSTRATCOM comprised of over 400 military, civilian government employees, and contract personnel in a state-of-the-art scientific and engineering based environment,” the citation read. “(He) provided direct support to the warfighting Global Combatant Commanders (COCOMs), the Joint Staff, the National Command Leadership, and other government agencies.”
“(He) demonstrated brilliant leadership guiding the command through turbulent and changing times, ensuring the workforce remained focused on the mission and continued to provide critical support to the nation’s war fighters,” the citation continued.
In his closing remarks, Shoman told the approximately 250 family, friends, and employees in attendance, “End of tour awards are presented to the individual, but are earned by the command. JWAC colleagues, it’s been an honor and a privilege to serve as your commander.”
Shoman commanded JWAC since December 2011. Before that, he was the deputy commander starting in September 2010.
A native of South Milwaukee, Wis., Shoman was commissioned in 1983 at the Aviation Officer Candidate School, Naval Air Station (NAS), Pensacola, Fla. Following flight training at NAS Corpus Christi, Tex. and NAS Meridian, Miss., he received his Wings of Gold in September 1985. He logged over 3,800 flight hours and 800 carrier landings, mostly in the FA-18C Hornet. He flew from the aircraft carriers Kitty Hawk, Enterprise, Forrestal, Constellation, Nimitz, Abraham Lincoln, and Carl Vinson. He also logged hours in the T-34C, T-2C, TA-4J, A-7E, TA-7C, A-6E, and EA-6A aircraft.
Shoman is married to the former Karen Liska, also of Wisconsin. They have two adult sons, Andrew, a 1st lieutenant in the Army and Jason, a financial analyst in Northern Virginia.
“I did get to fly for 30 years off the world’s greatest warships,” Shoman said. “I’m blessed to have a great family and a great career.”
Welcoming Swallow to the USSTRATCOM family, Kehler said, “Chan, I’m looking forward to what you can do as well. If Gary can fly off of it and land on it, Chan can sail it. There isn’t a vessel out there that he hasn’t sailed on.”
Swallow grew up in the Carolinas before attending Tulane University in New Orleans. He graduated in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering, receiving his commission through the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps. He also completed Army Airborne training in 1982.
Swallow has served aboard the cruisers U.S.S. Virginia and Bainbridge, the destroyer Elliot, the aircraft carrier Enterprise, the guided missile frigate Elrod, and as staff officer of Destroyer Squadron FIFTY. He commanded the guided missile frigate Nicholas in 2003, which intercepted the merchant ship BBC China carrying contraband nuclear centrifuges to Libya, thereby exposing the illegal nuclear efforts of Pakistan, Iran, North Korea, and Libya. From September 2004 to January 2007, he served as the Current Operations Officer at 7th Fleet, based in Yokosuka, Japan, executing tsunami and earthquake relief.
Swallow reported to JWAC in the spring of this year, having served as deputy commander since his arrival. Already, he has earned a reputation for a hands-on leadership style who is engaged at all levels of the command, according to those who have observed him.
“Capt. Shoman made this transition exceptionally smooth for me,” Swallow said. “He conveyed to me how he kept JWAC in the water between the buoys with the reactors safe.”