The Command Staff of South Carolina Wing consists of the following leaders:
Wing Commander -
Col Chris Peterson served as the Vice Commander for Operations, SC Wing, Civil Air Patrol (CAP) a position which he had held since 2018. In this position, he was the Commander representative for all Operations matters involving: Flight Operations, Emergency Services, Communications, and Aircraft Maintenance. His duties were to set and review strategic operations programs and guide the overall operations team directors into synergy. He was also responsible for guiding the wing’s annual inspection between the squadrons, groups, logistics and communications. His previous duties have also included Vice Commander-Units where he over-saw each Squadron, Flight, and lead to the redevelopment of the Groups. He has also served as the Wing’s Chief of Staff, where he created a Unit Commander guiding calendar with all required reports and actions for a Squadron Commander listed in a single document calendar and developed and coined the name of the Wing’s first reoccurring publication – “The Palmetto Flyer," calling on both definitions of the term Flyer. Additionally, Peterson has served as Director of Operations, Standards and Evaluation Officer, Director of Cadet Programs, and Group Commander. He has also filled-in the role of acting Director of Aerospace Education, Logistics, and Communications.
Peterson has earned his Wilson award having graduated from the 2020 National Staff College and 2010 Southeast Region Staff College. He holds a Master of Aerospace Science with an emphasis concentration in Human Factors and Graduate Safety Certificate from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. Additionally, he holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and Pre-Med from the College of Charleston. With over 3500 hours of flying, he holds his Multi Engine-Airline Transport Pilot, Flight Instructor Airplane and Instrument. He has attended the in-residence G1000 Transition and Instructor course at Cessna Aircraft in Independence, KS and is a CAP Check Pilot, Instructor, and Mission Pilot.
Peterson has uniquely served in major wing programs at the Wing level in all three major missions. As a former Cadet, Peterson has a unique perspective of CAP in general standing by his motto to give the cadets leadership opportunities and allow them to fail in a safe and constructive environment to guide and amplify learning. For 6 years he worked as the Director of Cadet Programs. During his tenure, he worked to increase the success of encampment. By doing so, he redeveloped the biannual Cadet Training Weekend (CTW) from a cadet basic program into a mini Encampment. The program was moved from a middle school gymnasium to the SC Army National Guard facility which hosts Encampment. Additionally, he added an extra staff only training program to further develop the cadet and senior staff to increase their ability to serve on Wing staff at the Encampment and become more successful leaders at the unit. The addition of ES and AE training flights for cadets who already had a basic encampment but were not yet ready for the burdens of leadership helped grow the overall Encampment numbers.
His contributions to the Aerospace Education mission have been indirect while occupying other positions. As Chief of Staff and Director of Operations he created the “Storm the Yorktown” annual Wing Wide visit to the Patriots Point museum, home of the USS Yorktown WWII Aircraft Carrier and USS Laffey WWII Destroyer, the little ship that wouldn’t sink, in Mt. Pleasant, SC. Peterson also provided the leadership towards Cadet Orientation Flying both powered and glider. When under his leadership these programs have excelled with most units beating the 70 and 80% requirements.
Peterson is highly experienced in Emergency Services holding multiple Ground Team, Aircrew, and Mission Base staff credentials with the highest in each category being Ground Team Leader, Mission Pilot, and Incident Commander. He also serves as a Skills Evaluator Trainer (SET) for these levels and enjoys working with the cadets and mentoring young to the program mentors. As an immature Incident Commander, he guided the SC Wing’s America Shield program where SC Wing provides aerial targets for the 263rd Air and Missile Defense unit in SC for their re-certification. SC Wing’s contributions allows the Command and Control staff to determine who is a friend versus foe when radar signatures converge. As a CFI, he pushed hard to return Cadet Flight Training to SC Wing after a 17-year hiatus resulting in back to back Encampments where he soloed a total of 4 cadet student pilots in approximately 10 hours. He has also helped multiple CAP members gain their advanced ratings while flying CAP aircraft without personal compensation.
Peterson is the Design Engineering Manager and Business Development at a Department of Defense contract support firm located in Charleston, SC. When he is not working or doing CAP, Peterson enjoys flight instruction, spending time with his family, kayaking and fishing.
Vice Commander of Operations - Lt. Col Nicole Shaffner
Lieutenant Colonel Nikki Shaffner has continuously served Civil Air Patrol for over 35 years. Her current role is as the South Carolina Vice Commander of Operations. She also serves on National Staff as the Volunteer University, Dean for Onsite Education & Training, managing the training programs of 35K members.
Lt Col Shaffner joined CAP as a cadet in 1988 as a member of Michigan Wing’s Bay City Composite Squadron. She earned the Billy Mitchell Award in 1990. She later transitioned to senior member while in Illinois Wing, and went on to serve in Ohio and South Carolina Wings. She has held a variety of leadership roles at the squadron, group, and wing levels including Deputy Commander of Cadets, Unit Commander, Commandant of Cadets, Encampment Commander, Group Commander, Wing Plans & Programs Officer, Public Affairs Officer, Inspector General, Chief of Staff, and Vice Commander of Units. Most recently Lt Col Shaffner has been involved with the National Volunteer University as the chair for onsite level V, executive training program.
She is a graduate of Great Lakes Region Staff College, the National Inspector General College, and National Staff College. In 2017 she achieved Level V and earned the Gill Robb Wilson Award. Lt Col Shaffner was selected as the 2015 South Carolina Inspector General of the Year and the 2016 South Carolina Senior Member of the Year Award. In 2016 she created the Facebook Group – Women of the Civil Air Patrol to help uplift, empower, strengthen, and validate other CAP officers. She joined the wing leadership team for National Legislative day in 2017 and served as the SCWG National Legislative day event project officer prior to COVID.
Lt Col Shaffner is employed by FN America as a Senior Operations Buyer. She currently serves her church as lay leader and music worship leader. She also serves locally for the town of Blythewood as a board member on the Zoning Appeals Board. She previously served on the Board of Directors for VOCI (2012-2014) and as an Area Representative & Trainer for Youth for Understanding (2010-2020). Lt Col Shaffner is married with 3 adult children and 4 grandchildren. She and her family have also hosted 9 international exchange students for a year aboard school experience.
Vice Commanders of Units - Lt Col James Brogan
Chief of Staff - Maj Ron Hardgrave
Deputy Chief of Staff for Members Support- Capt Eileen Kerr
Deputy Chief of Staff for Mission Support-- Capt Londa Stanley
Wing Command NCO - SMSgt William (Bill) Jackson firstname.lastname@example.org
The Wing Commander has overall responsibility for all operations in the Wing.
The Vice Commander is able to represent the Wing Commander during his absence. The Chief of Staff is also able to represent the Wing Commander as necessary.
The Deputy Chiefs of Staff each report to the Chief of Staff and have directorates and staff positions which report to them.
The Command NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer) advises the Wing Commander and other Command Staff about protocol, and acts in an advisory capacity at the Wing level.