Colonel Christopher B. Shaw was born in Boston Massachusetts to Jamaican immigrant parents. He grew up in the city and graduated from Boston Latin School. After Latin School, he obtained an appointment to the U. S. Naval Academy and majored in political science. Col Shaw graduated from Annapolis in 1994, and served as a Marine Infantry Officer leading Marines in Okinawa, Korea and in the Mediterranean Sea. Following his first tour in the Marines he became the Marine Officer Selection Officer for the Eastern Massachusetts area, and recruited over 120 Marine Officer Candidates from Boston area colleges such as Boston College, Harvard and Brown.
After recruiting duty, he earned a spot in the Marine legal education program and attended Boston College Law School. Upon graduating from Law School, in 2004, he was assigned as the Senior Trial Counsel for Legal Team Echo, located on Camp Pendleton in Southern California. While at Legal Team Echo, he prosecuted murder, rape and drug distribution cases; supervising 8 prosecutors. Also during this assignment he deployed to Al Anbar Province Iraq.
While in Iraq, Col Shaw served as the Staff Judge Advocate (SJA) to 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward). In this capacity he provided command legal advice, supported detention operations, lead the legal services team that provided legal assistance to over 27 thousand service members stationed in Al Anbar province and delivered Law of Armed Conflict and Rule of Law training to the Iraqi Army. After 13 months in Iraq, he returned to Camp Pendleton and bolstered his trial experience by prosecuting a number of high profile cases.
Next, Col Shaw attended the University of San Diego School of Law (USD) to obtain an advanced law degree (LLM) in international law. While assigned to USD, his paper, “The International Proscription against Torture and the United States Categorical and Qualified Responses” was published in the Boston College International and Comparative Law Review in the Spring of 2009.
Upon graduation from USD, he was assigned to U.S. Marine Forces, Pacific, located in Hawaii, as the Deputy SJA . As the Deputy SJA, he provided legal advice to the Three-Star Commander whose area of responsibility encompasses all Marine Forces from Arizona to India. In addition, he researched, designed, and provided training for several events attended by senior officers from Pacific Rim countries. These events discussed the Law of the Sea, the Law of Armed Conflict, Humanitarian Law, Rules of Engagement and Non-Lethal Weapons. While in this billet, Col Shaw was selected by the Pacific Command SJA to provide the legal framework regarding Status of Forces Agreements and Military Mutual Support Treaties to bilateral working groups formulating U.S. enhanced military engagements with New Zealand and the Republic of the Philippines.
After his assignment in Hawaii, Col Shaw was ordered to Marine Corps Base Quantico to serve as the Base SJA. As the SJA, he gave legal and ethical advice to the Base commander and numerous Marine National Capitol Region commands.
Within eight months as the SJA for MCB Quantico, in 2013, Col Shaw was selected by the Secretary of the Navy to serve as his Special Assistant for Legal and Legislative Matters (SAL). In this capacity, he provided legal counsel directly to the Secretary of the Navy, drafted correspondence to Congress, reviewed all Navy and Marine Corps Officer promotion board reports and General and Flag Officer nominations.
In June 2016, Col Shaw was assigned to Okinawa Japan as the III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), SJA. In this billet he provides legal advice to the III MEF Commander, a Three-Star General.