Colonel Shawn V. Young is the Commander of the 353d Special Operations Wing, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan. The wing provides U.S. Indo-Pacific Command with combat-ready Air Force Special Operations forces, operating from Kadena and Yokota Air Bases.  The wing employs Special Tactics Teams and flies MC-130J Commando II, and CV-22B Osprey aircraft.


Col Young received her Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas in 1995 and 1998, respectively; she then entered Air Force Officer Training School, earning a commission in 1999. Colonel Young attended pilot training at Naval Air Stations Whiting Field, Florida, and Corpus Christi, Texas, and served in various operational and instructor flying assignments in multiple aircraft and Major Commands. Following a tour as Commander of the 27th Special Operations Air Operations Squadron, Cannon Air Force Base, New Mexico, she was as the Commander, 1st Special Operations Group, Hurlburt Field, Florida. Her most recent assignment was as the Deputy Director, NATO Centre of Excellence Defense Against Terrorism (COE-DAT), Ankara, Türkiye. Colonel Young has served in multiple combat deployments as a pilot and mission commander in support of Operations ENDURING and IRAQI FREEDOM, Operation INHERENT RESOLVE, the Horn of Africa, and other small-scale contingency operations. She most recently deployed as the Director of Operations, Joint Special Operations Air Component - Central. 




1995 Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin

1998 Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin

2005 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL

2008 Marine Corps Command and Staff College, by correspondence

2012 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL

2012 Master of Military Art and Science, Air Command and Staff College

2021 Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL

2021 Master of Strategic Studies Degree with Grand Strategy Concentration, Air War College



Rating: Command Pilot

Flight Hours: More than 2,600 hours

Aircraft Flown: T-34C, TC-12B, C-130E, C-130H, T-6A, AC-130U, MQ-9A



Legion of Merit

Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with five oak leaf clusters

Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters

Joint Service Commendation Medal

Navy Commendation Medal



Second Lieutenant 9 April 1999

First Lieutenant 9 April 2001

Captain 9 April 2003

Major 1 October 2008

Lieutenant Colonel 1 April 2014

Colonel 1 May 2020