15th Airlift Squadron

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15th Airlift Squadron
15 AS.jpg
15th Airlift Squadron Patch
Active 20 November 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
Nickname(s) Global Eagles, "The Company"
Decorations U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg DCU
Outstanding Unit ribbon.svg AFOUA
Presidential Unit Citation (Korea).svg ROK PUC
Vietnam gallantry cross unit award-3d.svg RVGC w/ Palm

The 15th Airlift Squadron (15 AS) is part of the 437th Airlift Wing at Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina. It operates C-17 Globemaster III aircraft supporting the United States Air Force global reach mission worldwide.


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 Twelfth Air Force and deployed North Africa during May 1943, the squadron's aircraft flew supplies to front-line units in Algeria and Tunisia during the North African Campaign as soon as suitable landing strips were available and evacuated casualties back to rear area field hospitals.

Squadron engaged in combat operations, dropping airborne units into Sicily during the Operation Husky invasion and later into areas around Anzio, Italy as part of Operation Shingle, the invasion of mainland Italy and the initiation of the Italian Campaign, January 1944. Moved north though Italy, in 1943 in support of Allied ground forces, evacuated wounded personnel and flew missions behind enemy lines in Italy and the Balkans to haul guns, ammunition, food, clothing, medical supplies, and other materials to the partisans and to drop propaganda leaflets.

Was moved to England in February 1944, assigned to IX Troop Carrier Command, Ninth Air Force. Prepared for the invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe; in June 1944, subordinate units dropped paratroops in Normandy, subsequently flying numerous missions to bring in reinforcements and needed supplies. During the airborne attack on the Netherlands (Operation Market Garden, September 1944), the squadron dropped paratroops, towed gliders, and flew resupply missions. Several of its subordinate units also participated in the invasion of southern France in August 1944, the 50th supported the 101st Airborne Division in the Battle of the Bulge by towing gliders full of supplies near Bastogne on 27 December 1944.

When the Allies made the air assault across the Rhine River in March 1945, each aircraft towed two gliders with troops of the 17th Airborne Division and released them near Wesel. 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.

During the Cold War the 4th was involved in the Berlin Airlift from 1948 to 1949; aerial transport from the U.S. to Japan, August–December 1950; and between Japan and Korea, 13 December 1950 – November 1952. It has carried out worldwide airlift since 1953, including to Southeast Asia from 1966 to 1973 and supporting military operations in Grenada, October–November 1983; Panama, 18 December 1989 – 8 January 1990 and to Southwest Asia, August 1990 – January 1991.

Operations and Decorations[edit]

  • Combat Operations. World War II: Included airborne assaults on Sicily, Normandy, the Netherlands, and Germany; aerial transportation in MTO and ETO. Berlin Airlift, 1948–1949. Korea: Aerial transportation from US to Japan, Aug–Dec 1950, and between Japan and Korea, 13 Dec 1950 – Nov 1952. Worldwide airlift, 1953–1993, including to Southeast Asia, 1966–1973; Operation Urgent Fury (The invasion of Grenada), Oct–Nov 1983; Operation Just Cause (The invasion of Panama), 18 Dec 1989 – 8 Jan 1990; and Operation Desert Storm (The Persian Gulf War), Aug 1990 – Jan 1991. Operation Desert Storm (The Persian Gulf War); Operation Iraqi Freedom (The war in Iraq)
  • Campaigns. World War II: Sicily; Naples-Foggia; Normandy; Northern France; Rhineland; Central Europe. Korea: CCF Intervention; First UN Counteroffensive; CCF Spring Offensive; UN Summer-Fall Offensive; Second Korean Winter; Korean Summer-Fall, 1952.
  • Decorations. Distinguished Unit Citations: Sicily, 11 July 1943; France, [6–7] Jun 1944; Korea, 13 Dec 1950 – 21 Apr 1951. Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards: 1 Jul 1957 – 10 Dec 1962; 1 Jul 1968 – 30 Jun 1969; 1 Jul 1970 – 30 Jun 1971; 1 Jun 1978 – 31 May 1980; 1 Jan-31 Dec 1983; 1 Jan-31 Dec 1987; 1 Jan 1990 – 30 Apr 1991. Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation: 1 Jul 1951–[18 Nov 1952]. Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm: 1 Apr 1966 – 8 Jan 1973.


  • Constituted 15th Transport Squadron on 20 November 1940
Activated on 4 December 1940
Re-designated: 15th Troop Carrier Squadron on 4 July 1942
Inactivated on 31 July 1945
  • Activated on 30 September 1946
Re-designated: 15th Troop Carrier Squadron, Medium, on 1 July 1948
Re-designated: 15th Troop Carrier Squadron, Heavy, on 15 August 1948
Re-designated: 15th Military Airlift Squadron on 8 January 1966
Re-designated: 15th Airlift Squadron on 1 January 1992
Inactivated on 26 July 1993
  • Activated on 1 October 1993.





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

External links[edit]