Colonel Adam W. "Digger" Shelton

Col. Adam W. Shelton is the commander of the 461st Air Control Wing at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. He is responsible for the wing transition from worldwide E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System employment to new and emerging ground-based tactical command and control weapon systems.  The wing trains, mobilizes and deploys combat mission ready personnel and equipment to designated theaters of operation, and conducts sustained operations providing uninterrupted Command, Control, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance in support of the joint force commander. Additionally, he is responsible for the mobilization and deployment of command and control systems and the Deployable Air Traffic Control and Landing System enabling both expeditionary airfield operations supporting combatant commanders’ Agile Combat Employment scheme of maneuvers and peacetime airfield operations supporting humanitarian assistance/disaster relief missions.

Col. Shelton entered the U.S. Air Force in 2001 as a distinguished graduate of the Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville’s Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program. He has served in a variety of leadership positions including qualifications as an Air Battle Manager Instructor/Evaluator, Chief Weapons and Tactics, Chief Standardization and Evaluations, Assistant Director of Operations, Director Joint Special Operations Air Detachment, Squadron Director of Operations and Commander and the Division Chief of Command and Control, Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and the Advanced Battle Management System capability requirements, Headquarters Air Force, Washington, D.C. Prior to his current position, Col. Shelton was the commander of 505th Test and Training Group, Hurlburt Field, Florida. He has flown in and supported numerous contingency operations, some of which include Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Unified Protector, New Dawn and Inherit Resolve.


2001 Bachelor of Science, Computer Management and Information Systems, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville 2002 Aerospace Basics Course, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.

2007 Tactical Electronic Warfare Operations Course, Fort Huachuca, Ariz.

2008 Squadron Officer School, Distinguished Graduate, Maxwell AFB, Ala.

2009 U.S. Air Force Weapons Instructor Course, Distinguished Graduate, Nellis AFB, Nev.

2012 Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala., by correspondence

2014 Distinguished Graduate, College of Naval Command and Staff, Naval War College, Newport, R.I.

2020 National Security Fellowship, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Cambridge, Mass.

2021 Certified Professional Innovator, Project Mercury Innovation Accelerator, University of Michigan

2022 Digital DNA Certification, Air Force Research Laboratory Pilot Program, MITRE Corporation

2023 Machine Learning in Business, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management, Executive Education Program


1. January 2002 – March 2003, Student, Undergraduate Air Battle Management Training, 325th Air Control Squadron, Tyndall AFB, Fla.

2. March 2003 – July 2004, E-3 Air Weapons Officer, 964th Airborne Air Control Squadron, Tinker AFB, Okla.

3. August 2004 – December 2008, Evaluator Air Battle Manager and Chief of Standardization and Evaluations, 325th ACS, Tyndall AFB, Fla.

4. January 2009 – July 2009, Student, U.S. Air Force Weapons School, Nellis AFB, Nev.

5. August 2009 – June 2011, Instructor Senior Director and Chief Weapons and Tactics, 963th AACS, Tinker AFB, Okla.

6. July 2011 – June 2012, Mission Crew Commander and Chief Operations Group Weapons and Tactics, 552d Operations Support Squadron, Tinker AFB, Okla.

7. July 2012 – June 2013, Assistant Director of Operations, 960th ACS, Tinker AFB, Okla.

8. July 2013 – June 2014, Student, College of Naval Command and Staff, Newport, R.I.

9. July 2014 – May 2016, Chief C2ISR Operations, Aviation Tactics and Evaluation Group, Fort Bragg, N.C.

10. May 2016 – June 2017, Director of Operations, 552d Operations Support Squadron, Tinker AFB, Okla.

11. June 2017 – June 2019, Commander, 552d Operations Support Squadron, Tinker AFB, Okla.

12. June 2019 – June 2020, National Security Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School, Cambridge, Mass.

13. June 2020 – May 2021, Division Chief, C2ISR and ABMS Requirements, Headquarters Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

14. June 2021 – July 2023, Commander, 505th Test and Training Group, Hurlburt Field, Fla.

15. July 2023 – Present, Commander, 461st Air Control Wing, Robins Air Force Base, Ga.


Rating: Master Air Battle Manager

Flight hours: more than 1,000 including more than 100 combat hours Aircraft flown: E-3 B/C/G


Legion of Merit

Bronze Star

Defense Meritorious Service Medal

Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters

Joint Service Commendation Medal

Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters

Army Commendation Medal

Air Force Combat Action Medal

Army Combat Action Badge

Air Education and Training Command Master Instructor


Second Lieutenant Jan. 3, 2002

First Lieutenant Jan. 3, 2004

Captain Jan. 3, 2006

Major Jan. 1, 2012

Lieutenant Colonel Nov. 1, 2016

Colonel March 1, 2021

(Current as of July 25, 2023)