16th Airlift Squadron Patch – Sew On
A 4″W x 4″H Squadron Patch of United States Air Force.
The 16th Airlift Squadron is an active unit of the United States Air Force, assigned to the 437th Airlift Wing, Air Mobility Command. It is based at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina. The squadron operates Boeing C-17 Globemaster III aircraft supporting the United States Air Force global reach mission worldwide.
The 16th Airlift Squadron provide combat-ready Boeing C-17A Globemaster III aircrews for worldwide airlift missions supporting Department of Defense and National Command Authority directives. They conduct airdrop and air-land operations supporting global contingencies for combatant commanders by projecting and sustaining combat forces directly into theater drop zones and austere airfields.
The unit perform emergency nuclear airlift, aeromedical evacuation & humanitarian relief missions in the technologically advanced, C-17A airlift aircraft in all phases of ground and flight activity.
World War II
20 Nov 1940, the unit was constituted as 16 Transport Squadron and activated two weeks later on 11 Dec 1940. The squadron converted to Douglas DC-2 transport aircraft as a GHQ Air Force transport squadron. Converted to Douglas C-47 Skytrains in early 1942, trained under I Troop Carrier Command for combat operations. Redesignated 16 Troop Carrier Squadron on 4 Jul 1942. 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 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 at Ciampino Airport, Italy and as the European Theater closed in on Germany, part of the 16th again went on detached service to Rosignano Airfield, Italy, operating resupply 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 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.
Tactical airlift in the Cold War
Reactivated briefly in 1947–1948 at Langley Field, Virginia as a Tactical Air Command troop carrier squadron, but never fully manned or equipped.
Reactivated during the Korean War at Sewart Air Force Base, Tennessee and equipped with Fairchild 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 Air Force Base, Oklahoma in 1954 and was inactivated in 1955.
Redesignated the 16th Tactical Airlift Training Squadron on 14 August 1969 and was reactivated six weeks later flying Lockheed C-130 Hercules at Sewart Air Force Base, TN. On 1 October 1993 the 76th Airlift Squadron at Joint Base Charleston, SC, was renamed the 16th Airlift Squadron and assigned to the 4442nd Combat Crew Training Wing. With the closure of Sewart, the squadron moved to Little Rock AFB, Arkansas in March 1970 with the 4442 CCTW, flying and conducting initial upgrade training on the C-130 A and E models.
On 1 October 1993, the 76th Airlift Squadron at Charleston Air Force Base, SC, was renamed the 16th Airlift Squadron, and transitioned to the C-141 as the squadron’s primary aircraft. 15 July 2000 saw the unit’s C-141 Starlifter leave and the squadron was inactivated.1 Jul 2002, the squadron reactivated with Boeing C-17A Globemaster III heavy-lift strategic transport aircraft.
Constituted as the 16th Transport Squadron on 20 November 1940
Activated on 11 December 1940
Redesignated 16th Troop Carrier Squadron on 4 July 1942
Inactivated on 31 July 1945
Activated on 19 May 1947
Inactivated on 10 September 1948
Redesignated 16th Troop Carrier Squadron, Assault, Light on 19 September 1950
Activated on 5 October 1950
Redesignated 16th Troop Carrier Squadron, Assault, Fixed Wing on 8 November 1954
Inactivated on 8 July 1955
Redesignated 16th Tactical Airlift Training Squadron on 14 August 1969
Activated on 15 October 1969
Redesignated 16th Airlift Squadron on 1 December 1991
Inactivated on 29 September 2000
Activated on 1 July 2002