16th Airlift Squadron

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16th Airlift Squadron
16th Airlift Squadron.jpg
16th Airlift Squadron Patch
Active November 20, 1940 – Present
Country United States
Branch United States Air Force
Type Airlift
Part of Air Mobility Command
18th Air Force
437th Airlift Wing
437th Operations Group
Garrison/HQ Charleston Air Force Base
Decorations AF Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon.png DCU
Air Force Meritorious Unit ribbon.svg AFMUA
Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg AFOUA
16 AS alternate patch

The 16th Airlift Squadron (16 AS) is one unit of four active duty C-17A Globemaster III squadrons at Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina.

Overview[edit]

The 16th Airlift Squadron is commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel, who serves as the leader of the squadron, including the pilots. The Chief Loadmaster is in charge of the loadmasters and the First Sergeant takes charge of the few support military personnel and civilians working in the squadron.

History[edit]

Activated in December 1940 flying converted Douglas DC-2 transport aircraft as a GHQ Air Force transport squadron. Converted to C-47 Skytrains in early 1942, trained under I Troop Carrier Command for combat operations. Assigned to VIII Air Support Command, Eighth Air Force and deployed to England in August 1942, providing transport to the newly established American Air Force.

Was transferred to Algiers, Algeria in November 1942, and attached, being later assigned to Twelfth Air Force as part of the North African Campaign. The squadron's aircraft flew supplies to front-line units in Algeria and Tunisia during the as soon as suitable landing strips were available and evacuated casualties back to rear area field hospitals. A flight of the squadron deployed to Tenth Air Force in India during the fall of 1942, to assist in the re-supply of Brigadier General Merrill and his men, affectionately known as "Merrill's Marauders". It was during this Ceylon, Burma, India campaign that the squadron received its first Distinguished Unit Citation, returning to Tunisia by the end of the year.

The squadron moved to Sicily, dropping airborne forces onto the island during Operation Husky, then moved to forward airfields in Italy during 1943 as part of the Italian Campaign. Just prior to "D" Day, part of the 16th left India for Italy to tow gliders into France on "D" Day. In July 1944, the detached unit was joined by the remainder of the 16th TCS at Ciampino, Italy and as the European Theater closed in on Germany, part of the 16th again went on detached service to Rosignano, Italy, operating re-supply missions to Greek Partisans during September to October 1944.

In the fall of 1944, moved to France in support of Operation Anvil, the Allied invasion of Southern France, and supported ground forces moving north through the Rhone Valley to link up with Allied forces moving east from Normandy. Returned to Northern Italy in early 1945, supporting the drive into the Po River Valley and the end of combat in Italy during May 1945. The squadron also hauled food, clothing, medicine, gasoline, ordnance equipment, and other supplies to the front lines and evacuated patients to rear zone hospitals.

In late May 1945, after V-E Day, the squadron was moved to Waller Field, Trinidad and attached to Air Transport Command. From Trinidad, the squadron ferried returning military personnel to Morrison Field, Florida, where they were sent on to other bases or prepared for separation after the war. Inactivated at the end of July 1945.

Reactivated briefly in 1947-1948 at Langley Field, Virginia at a Tactical Air Command troop carrier squadron, but never fully manned or equipped due to budget shortages. Reactivated during the Korean War at Sewart AFB, Tennessee and equipped with C-119 Flying Boxcars and other assault transports to be used for airborne combat assault operations. Performed training for combat units, but remained in the United States. Moved to Ardmore AFB, Oklahoma in 1954 and was inactivated in 1955 due to budget reductions.

Reactivated during the Vietnam War as a C-130 Hercules airlift training squadron at Sewart AFB, moved to Little Rock AFB in 1970 with the closure of Sewart. Remained in the training role until 1993 until being moved to Charleston AFB and becoming an operational C-141 Starlifter heavy airlift squadron. Inactivated with the retirement of the Starlifter in 2000, reactivated with C-17 Globemaster IIIs in 2002.

Operations and Decorations[edit]

  • Combat Operations. World War II: Airborne assaults on Sicily and Southern France; support for partisans in Northern Italy, Jan-May 1945; aerial transportation in MTO, and briefly in CBI. Airlift of Army assault troops in training exercises, 1951-1954. Aircrew training, 1969-1993; flew humanitarian and resupply missions worldwide, including to Bosnia and Southwest Asia, 1993-2000.
  • Campaigns. World War II: Algeria-French Morocco; Tunisia; Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Rome-Arno; Southern France; North Apennines; Po Valley; India-Burma; Air Combat, EAME Theater.

Lineage[edit]

  • Constituted 16th Transport Squadron on 20 Nov 1940
Activated on 11 Dec 1940
Re-designated: 16th Troop Carrier Squadron on 4 Jul 1942
Inactivated on 31 Jul 1945
  • Activated on 19 May 1947
Inactivated on 10 Sep 1948
  • Re-designated: 16th Troop Carrier Squadron, Assault, Light on 19 Sep 1950
Activated on 5 Oct 1950
Re-designated: 16th Troop Carrier Squadron, Assault, Fixed Wing on 8 Nov 1954
Inactivated on 8 Jul 1955
  • Re-designated: 16th Tactical Airlift Training Squadron on 14 Aug 1969
Activated on 15 Oct 1969
Re-designated: 16th Airlift Squadron on 1 Dec 1991
Inactivated on 29 Sep 2000
  • Activated on 1 Jul 2002.

Assignments[edit]

Stations[edit]

Aircraft[edit]

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.

External links[edit]