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Fact Sheets
FACTSHEET | April 17, 2024

14th Airlift Squadron

The 14th Airlift Squadron "Pelicans" are an active unit of the United States Air Force, assigned to the 437th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Charleston, SC.

Used in the employment of worldwide, direct-delivery JCS airlift requirements, the 14th Airlift Squadron provides combat-ready C-17A Globemaster III aircrews for worldwide airlift supporting rapid global mobility efforts of the Air Force during global contingencies. The Pelican crews maintain air refueling, tactical ingress/egress, low-level, airdrop, and airland TTPs (Tactics, Techniques, & Procedures) at a razor-sharp edge to provide Combatant Commanders with the ability to project and sustain combat forces anywhere, anytime around the world.  The squadron is tasked with providing emergency nuclear airlift, Presidential support, aeromedical evacuation, and humanitarian relief efforts.  The 14th also maintains a JCS-directed alert force which supports immediate global contingencies and unconventional warfare operations.

The 14th began flying the C-17 in 1995 (after flying the C-141B since 1967). Other aircraft flown by the 14th through the years include the C-124, C-54, C-47, C-39, and C-33. The squadron’s storied history extends back to 1940 when the unit was activated as the 14th Troop Carrier Squadron.  The 14th flew airborne assaults in Europe during World War II and took part in the Berlin Airlift several years later. Furthermore, it provided aerial transportation during the Korean War and the Vietnam Conflict.

In the years following Vietnam, the 14th Airlift Squadron was involved in Operations URGENT FURY, JUST CAUSE, DESERT SHIELD/STORM, FIERY VIGIL, PROVIDE HOPE, PROVIDE COMFORT, PROVIDE RELIEF/RESTORE HOPE, SOUTHERN WATCH, UPHOLD DEMOCRACY, SUPPORT HOPE, JOINT ENDEAVOR, and PHOENIX TUSK. During Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR, members deployed to the Bosnian region in the dead of winter where support at destination locations was often minimal. Operation PHOENIX TUSK, in November of 1997, assisted in the delivery of humanitarian aid to approximately 1.2 million refugees as part of a United States-African relief effort.

The unit's skills were tested and proven in numerous global contingencies and natural disasters in 1999. The squadron flawlessly performed combat supply, hurricane evacuation, humanitarian support, medical resupply, emergency aeromedical evacuation, and FEMA disaster relief missions.

In 2001, the 14th piloted one of the first C-17s into Afghanistan, signaling the start of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.  Over the next 20 years, the squadron flawlessly executed countless airlift operations and deployments throughout the Area of Responsibility.  In 2021, the 14th played a key role in evacuating more than 124,000 refugees from Hamid Karzai International Airport.  These efforts resulted in what is now known as the Kabul Airlift, the largest military non-combatant evacuation in history.

More recently, the Pelicans executed humanitarian airlift operations into and out of Pakistan in the fall of 2022, delivering 1.4 million pounds of aid, winning the BAVA Humanitarian Mission of the Year Award. The strategic and tactical airlift provided has once again proven why the 14th is the World’s Premier Airlift Squadron.

Motto: Once a Pelican, Always a Pelican.