JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
Fifteenth Airlift Squadron Airmen from the 437th Airlift Wing and their families and friends said their farewells Oct. 28 as more than 130 members left for operations in the Middle East.
For approximately 120 days, the Airmen known at Joint Base Charleston - Air Base as the Global Eagles, will deploy and operate as part of the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron in and around Iraq and Afghanistan. The 816 EAS supports intra-theatre airlift, airdrop and aero-medical evacuation missions.
"The Global Eagles have a long history of deployments dating back to World War II. For the recent conflicts, we began deploying as an Expeditionary Airlift Squadron to Frankfurt, Germany in October 2002 as the 817th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron. Locations and detachments have changed somewhat through the past 10 years, but the constant support of all Charleston C-17 squadrons has remained constant," said Lt. Col. Rebecca Sonkiss, 15th Air Lift Squadron commander.
The 15th Airlift Squadron has replaced the 14th AS, 437th ALW, known as the Pelicans, who have finished yet another deployment.
The 15th AS's mobility mission is to be constantly in the air supporting national interests across the globe. In order to do this, hours of training are conducted before the deployment. Much of the required pre-deployment training has to be compressed into a very short time period, so it remains current throughout the overseas tour.
Additionally, the squadron must complete numerous ground requirements, including flight simulator training, chemical warfare training and survival training.
"I was impressed by our crew member's great attitudes and willingness to meet their deployment requirements weeks ahead of schedule," said Master Sgt. Rene "Red" Delarosa, acting 816 EAS first sergeant. "The entire squadron was ready to deploy ahead of schedule and eager to assume the responsibilities of their deployed missions."
As with any deployment, family support is always a concern.
"There is nothing that can completely prepare families for the separation of a deployment, particularly during the holidays" said Sonkiss. "But, the families of the Airmen have prepared by attending briefings by the Airmen and Family Readiness Center to ensure even the newest spouses have an expectation of what to expect for the deployment. We have the strongest Key Spouse program on the base.
"Our talons are sharp and we are ready for another superb deployment. Eagles Lead the Way!" said Sonkiss.