The 17th Airlift Squadron began its existence at Hamilton Field, California in February 1942 as the 17th Air Corps Ferrying Squadron and has since flown a variety of aircraft to include the C-46, C-47, C-54, C-124, C-141 and C-17. Though the aircraft and name of the squadron have changed over the years, the job of the 17th AS has always been air transport.
In June of 1993 the 17th AS became the first operational squadron to take delivery of the Boeing/McDonnell Douglas C-17A Globemaster III, the world's premiere tactical and strategic airlifter. Capable of low-level formation, air refueling and steep approaches into semi-prepared airfields, the 17th currently employs the C-17A around the globe in a number of missions including routine airland transport, airdrop, aeromedical evacuation, emergency nuclear airlift and presidential support. To accomplish these tasks the squadron employs approximately 170 personnel comprised of officers, enlisted and civilian personnel.
In the summer of 2006, the 17th AS made history by standing up the first fully-deployed C-17 squadron--the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron. For its efforts, the squadron was selected as the Air Force Association's David C. Schilling Award winner in 2007--an award recognizing a single unit for outstanding contributions in the field of fight. The 17th was also Air Mobility Command's selection for Squadron of the Year in 1996 and 1997.
A few of the important operations the squadron has participated in include operations IRAQI FREEDOM, ENDURING FREEDOM, and SOUTHERN WATCH in Southwest Asia as well as JOINT ENDEAVOR in Bosnia. The 17th played a vital role in Operation CENTRAZBAT 97, an eight-aircraft, 20.7-hour, nonstop formation airdrop mission from Pope AFB, NC to Chimkent Drop Zone, Kazakhstan, delivering six High Mobility Multi-wheeled Vehicles (Humvees for short) and 540 paratroopers on time and on target and took part in Operations DESERT SHEILD and DESERT STORM in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, the squadron participated in Operation PROVIDE HOPE in the former Soviet Union, Operation PROVIDE PROMISE in Yugoslavia, Operation RESTORE HOPE in Somalia, Operation MAINTAIN DEMOCRACY in Haiti, Operation ASSURED RESPONSE in Liberia, and Operation SUPPORT HOPE in Rwanda. The men and women of the 17th AS have also provided humanitarian relief to Central America, Puerto Rico, tsunami relief in India and Sri Lanka, Pakistan earth quake relief, and Hurricane Katrina Relief in United States. Most recently the squadron supported the evacuation of American citizens from Lebanon.
For over 66 years, the 17th AS has been delivering hope, protecting freedom and taking the fight to the enemy by maintaining and perfecting the capability of delivering anything, anywhere, anytime. It will continue to do so for years to come.
Lineage: Constituted 17th Air Corps Ferrying Squadron on 18 Feb 1942. Activated on 27 Apr 1942. Redesignated 17th Transport Squadron on 19 Mar 1943. Disbanded on 31 Oct 1943. Reconstituted, and redesignated 17th Air Transport Squadron, Medium, on 22 Mar 1954. Activated on 18 Jul 1954. Redesignated: 17th Air Transport Squadron, Heavy, on 18 Jun 1958; 17th Military Airlift Squadron on 8 Jan 1966. Inactivated on 8 Apr 1969. Activated on 1 Aug 1987. Redesignated 17th Airlift Squadron on 1 Oct 1991.
Assignments: Army Air Forces Ferrying (later, Air Transport) Command, 27 Apr 1942; 11th Ferrying (later, 11th Transport) Group, 28 Jul 1942-31 Oct 1943. 1608th Air Transport Group, 18 Jul 1954; 1608th Air Transport Wing, 18 Jan 1963; 437th Military Airlift Wing, 8 Jan 1966-8 Apr 1969. 437th Military Airlift Wing, 1 Aug 1987; 437th Operations Group, 1 Oct 1991-.
Commanders: Activated, 27 April 1942; Unknown, 27 April 1942 – 31 October 1943; Disbanded, 31 October 1943; Activated, 18 July 1954; Lt Col James F. Wiley, 18 July 1954; Lt Col Clarence G. Kreutter, 11 January 1956; Lt Col Eugene B. Sterling, Ca. 4 June 1956; Lt Col John F. Zinn, 17 August 1959; Maj Richard E. Knie, 23 June 1960; Lt Col John W. Vaughn, Jr., 5 June 1961; Lt Col Herbert T. Levack, By June 1963; Lt Col Henry L. Tamenga, By December 1964; Lt Col Charles E. Beard, Jr., By June 1966; Lt Col Edwin E. Green, 8 August 1967 (thru 31 Dec 68?) inactivated, 8 April 1969; activated, 1 August 1987; Lt Col Michael W. Wooley, 1 August 1987; Lt Col Richard P. Martin, 20 July 1989; Lt Col Alfred P. McCraken, 3 July 1990; Lt Col Gary L. Pudwell, July 1991; Lt Col Tommy J. McClam, 1 April 1993; Lt Col Ronald R. Ladnier, 9 June 1993; Lt Col Robert O. Gray, 8 August 1995; Lt Col Edward F. Schauberger, 29 May 1997; Lt Col Scott L. Grunwald, 12 November 1998; Lt Col John C. Millander, 10 February 2000; Lt Col Peter A. Hirneise, 27 April 2001; Lt Col Donald L. Shaffer, 25 June 2002; Lt Col Randy L. Witham, 14 May 2004; Lt Col Lenny J. Richoux, 12 January 2006; Lt Col Scott V. DeThomas, 16 June 2007; Lt Col Richard E. Williamson, Jr., 17 July 2008; Lt Col Michael D. Madsen, 29 June 2010 -
Stations: Hamilton Field, CA, 27 Apr 1942-31 Oct 1943. Charleston AFB, SC, 18 Jul 1954-8 Apr 1969. Charleston AFB, SC, 1 Aug 1987-.
Aircraft: C-46, 1942-1943; C-47, 1942-1943. C-54, 1954-1958; C-124, 1958-1969; C-141, 1987- June 1993; C-17, 1993-
Operations: World War II: Air Transport and aircraft delivery to the Pacific Theater. Worldwide Airlift beginning 1954. Missions to Southeast Asia, 1964-1969. Supported operations in Panama, 18-29 Dec 1989, and Southwest Asia, Aug 1990-Dec 1991.
Service Streamers: World War II American Theater.
Campaign Streamers: Southwest Asia: Defense of Saudi Arabia; Liberation and Defense of Kuwait.
Armed Forces Expeditionary Streamers: Panama, 1989-1990.
Decorations: Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards: 1 Jan 1963-1 Feb 1964; 11 Jul 1966-10 Jul 1967; 11 Jul 1967-10 Jul 1968; 11 Jul 1968-8 Apr 1969; 1 Jul 1988-30 Jun 1989; 1 Jul 1989-30 Jun 1990; 21 Sep 1989-31 Oct 1989. Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm: 1 Apr 1966-8 Apr 1969.
Emblem: On an Air Force Blue globe, grid lines White, issuing from the top of a White scroll, two hands flesh tone, winged at the wrists White, bearing supplies or cargo Air Force golden Yellow; outlines and details Air Force Blue throughout. MOTTO: ANYTHING, ANYWHERE, ANYTIME.