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Col. Strahle to Command Springfield’s 183rd Wing

Col. Shawn Strahle of Chatham has been selected as the Commander of the Illinois Air National Guard’s 183rd Wing based in Springfield.

Strahle, who has served as the wing’s deputy commander since September 2023, will assume command of the wing on June 3 from Col. Robert Gellner of Sherman. Gellner has served as the wing’s commander since July 2021. He has accepted a position as the vice commander of the 603rd Air and Space Operations Center in Germany.

"Bob Gellner has done outstanding work and has helped give the 183rd Wing strategic direction,” said Brig. Gen. Dan McDonough, the Assistant Adjutant General – Air of the Illinois National Guard and Commander of the Illinois Air National Guard. "Shawn Strahle has the leadership and the experience to bring the 183rd Wing into the modern era of great power competition.”

Strahle said he was "humbled and honored” to be selected as the wing commander. "The wing is doing great things, and I aim to push it even further,” he said. "We will embrace the Agile Combat Employment and the Multi-Capable Airmen concepts” – the Air Force’s strategy to meet the challenges posed to the nation’s defense by "near peer” rivals.  

The new commander also plans to help push the wing’s community presence in the Springfield area, both for recruiting and retention as well as to build local connections. Since the wing lost its F-16s due to the federal Base Realignment and Closure Process in 2008, some are unaware of its current high-tech missions, Strahle said. 

The wing has about 260 full-time positions and about 920 traditional National Guard Airmen with valuable skills in command and control, maintenance, communications, security, engineering, medical, and cyber, among others. "Some of these jobs require a top-secret security clearance, which is a valuable commodity,” he said. 

Strahle was enlisted for the first decade of his career, serving as a crash rescue firefighter with the Indiana Air National Guard’s 181st Fighter Wing in Terre Haute, Ind., from 1987 to 2003. After receiving a master’s degree in from Indiana State University in 2000, Strahle delved into information technology. He became a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer in 2001 and followed that with a long list of cyber and information technology certifications including the Certified Information Systems Security Professional as well as communications, domestic operations, and military planning and leadership courses. In 2022, he completed the Dual Status Commanders Course, enabling him to command both National Guard and active-duty military in a major domestic emergency.  He was commissioned as an Air Force second lieutenant in 2003, transferring to the 183rd Wing’s Communications Flight as the flight’s executive officer.

Strahle’s wife, Dr. Ann Strahle, is an associate dean and professor at the University of Illinois Springfield. Their two sons, Phillip and Benjamin, are attending college in Illinois. 


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