3d Airlift Squadron

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3rd Airlift Squadron
Boeing C-17A Lot XIII Globemaster III 01-0186.jpg
3rd Airlift Squadron C-17A Globemaster III 01-0186
Active 18 February 1942 – present
Country United States
Branch  United States Air Force
Type Strategic Airlift
Part of 436th Operations Group
Garrison/HQ Dover Air Force Base, Delaware
Motto(s) Safe, Swift, Sure
Third but First!

Asiatic-Pacific Streamer.png
Asia-Pacific Theater (World War II)
Southwest Asia Service Streamer.png
Southwest Asia Service

  • Defense of Saudi Arabia
  • Liberation and Defense of Kuwait.
Decorations US Air Force Outstanding Unit Award - Stremer.jpg
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (13x)
Vietnam Gallantry Cross - Streamer.jpg
Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
Lieutenant Colonel Mark Radio
William J. Begert
3d Airlift Squadron Emblem 3d Airlift Squadron.jpg

The 3rd Airlift Squadron is a squadron of the 436th Airlift Wing of the USAF. It is based at Dover Air Force Base near Dover, Delaware.


Douglas C-74 Globemaster 42-65402, 3d ATS, early 1950s

The 3d Airlift Squadron goes back to the days of World War II when it was activated at Pope Field, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in March 1942, as a ferrying squadron. During the war, the 3rd was stationed at Chabau, Upper Assam, India. Later, it transferred to the India-China Wing of the Air Transport Command and carried supplies and equipment back and forth across the treacherous "Hump." The squadron was disbanded in late 1943.

During the Korean War, the 3rd was reconstituted at Brookley Field, Alabama, and began flying regularly scheduled airlift missions in its eight C-124 Globemaster IIs to the Arctic, Caribbean, and South America. In June 1958, the squadron moved to Charleston AFB, South Carolina, where it continued to fly C-124s until August 1965, when it transitioned into jets with the arrival of the first C-141 Starlifter.

In June 1970, the 3rd Military Airlift Squadron received the first operational C-5 Galaxy to be assigned to a Military Airlift Command flying organization. Three years later, the 3rd was transferred to its present home with the 436th Airlift Wing at Dover AFB.

Aircrews of the 3rd AS flew support missions for French troops in the Zaire peacekeeping effort. For their efforts, they were co-recipients with a 9th MAS crew of the Mackay Trophy for the 1978 airlift operation.

The 3rd has proven itself and the C-5 to be highly mission-ready by setting AMC records for departure reliability. In 1986, the 3rd received the 436th Military Airlift Wing's Flying Eagle award four times for having the highest percentage of on-time departures.

In April 1988, a 3rd MAS crew, overcoming the difficulties of flying into unfamiliar territory, airlifted drilling equipment into Semipolitinsk, U.S.S.R. The mission was part of a joint nuclear weapons detonation monitoring agreement signed by the United States and the Soviet Union. The crew was subsequently awarded the Mackay Trophy for the "most meritorious flight of the year".

The 3rd AS continues its distinct history and support of AMC by flying humanitarian and contingency missions into such places as Southwest Asia, Somalia, Rwanda, and Haiti. The 3rd AS participated in the first-ever six-ship formation flights of C-5's in support of the Strategic Brigade Airdrop Test.

In October 2003 a crew from the 3rd Airlift Squadron landed the first C-5 Galaxy in Iraq at Baghdad International Airport. Until 2004 the unit was also the only Special Operations Low Level SOLL capable unit to fly the C-5 Galaxy. This capability was transferred to the smaller and more modern C-17 in 2001.

In 2007 the 3rd AS transitioned from operation of the C-5 Galaxy to the newer C-17 Globemaster III.


Unit insignia for the 3rd ALS prior to its switch to the C-17
  • Constituted 3rd Air Corps Ferrying Squadron on 18 February 1942
Activated on 7 March 1942
Re-designated 3rd Transport Squadron on 24 March 1943
Disbanded on 1 December 1943
  • Reconstituted, and re-designated 3rd Air Transport Squadron, Heavy, on 20 June 1952
Activated on 20 July 1952
Re-designated: 3rd Military Airlift Squadron on 8 January 1966
Re-designated: 3rd Airlift Squadron on 1 December 1991.





 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  • Mueller, Robert, Air Force Bases Volume I, Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982, Office of Air Force History, 1989
  • 3d Airlift Squadron AFHRA History

External links[edit]