AFNWC vice commander pins on colonel

  • Published
  • By Leah Bryant, AFNWC Public Affairs
  • Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center
Lt. Col. Shad K. Colgate, Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center vice commander, was "frocked" to the rank of colonel on Aug. 6.

Frocking military officers is the practice of pinning on a higher rank after selection for that grade but before the actual promotion date.
President Joseph Biden nominated Colgate for promotion to colonel and the Senate confirmed his promotion.
Col. Christopher Graves, 377th Maintenance Group commander, presided over the ceremony at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
 “I’m honored to officiate the promotion of my friend and colleague of 13 years,” Graves said. “What a historic day, August 6, to promote a munitions maintenance officer from lieutenant colonel to colonel, in front of this F-16 and next to a B-29 and this mock-up of the tower where we tested our first nuclear device, the Gadget, just a few hours from here.”
He noted that on this day 76 years ago, the world’s first atomic weapon was detonated in combat over Hiroshima, Japan. 
“Today, we celebrate 27,756 days where nuclear deterrence has worked. I mention that because Shad has been a part of that strategic deterrence for over 21 years in different assignments around the world, and it all began right here in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at Kirtland Air Force Base, ” he said, noting Colgate’s first assignment was to Kirtland’s 898th Munitions Maintenance Squadron.

Colgate graduated from Colorado State University in 1999 and earned his commission as a second lieutenant through the Air Force ROTC. Since then, he has specialized in managing nuclear and conventional munitions. He also broadened his experience to include maintenance of fighter aircraft and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Graves described several accomplishments in Colgate’s military career, including most recently being selected as No. 1 out of 45 lieutenant colonels in the 31st Fighter Wing at Aviano Air Base, Italy, for the colonel promotion board.
Prior to his current assignment, he was the deputy commander of the 31st Maintenance Group at Aviano.
“I know first-hand the challenges of some of the assignments he has had,” Graves said. “They were hard-earned accolades.”
In his closing remarks, Colgate said his accomplishments praised today were not strictly his own because “they came on the backs of airmen and there are several here today who worked for me many years ago.”
“Every corner I turn in every building here at Kirtland Air Force Base, I run into somebody who helped me get to right here,” he said.
He thanked his family for attending the ceremony, including his wife, Valerie Colgate; parents, Jerry and Carol Colgate; and sister and brother-in-law, Kay and Larry Britton. He said this was only the second promotion in his career held in the United States, which extended family could attend.