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Team Charleston proves imperative to Operation Iraqi Freedom

By Shauna Heathman | 437th Airlift Wing Public Affairs | March 21, 2007

CHARLESTON AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. — March 19 marked the four-year anniversary of the Coalition-led operation to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. 

Team Charleston's track record includes numerous undertakings in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Since the start of the war, Charleston AFB has been involved - flying missions and transporting cargo around the world in support of the Global War on Terrorism. 

"Team Charleston has been engaged in this effort since the beginning and will be until the conflict is over," said Col. Glen Joerger, 437th Airlift Wing commander. "Our nation cannot defeat our enemies abroad without the tremendous capabilities that our Air Force and the men and women of Team Charleston bring to the fight." 

In 2003, after the start of the war, Charleston provided the first ever airdrop of troops into a combat zone, inserting the 173rd Airborne Brigade into Northern Iraq. Also that year, Charleston Airmen flew 62 missions transporting more than 2,000 passengers, more than 3,000 tons of cargo and more than 400 vehicles with 100 percent mission reliability for OIF. 

Since September 11, 2001, Charleston AFB has launched more than 95,000 C-17 sorties; the 315th Airlift Wing has flown more than 21,000 sorties. More than 14,000 missions have been flown out of Charleston since September 11. 

Charleston has also carried nearly 400,000 tons of cargo since February 2002 and Charleston's aerial port squadron is one of the primary cargo hubs supporting the GWOT. The base has airlifted more cargo in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom than any other base in the U.S. and is the only unit in the world tasked with providing strategic airlift to special operations forces. In fact, Charleston now processes all air cargo for OIF. Team Charleston also has the best maintenance departure reliability-rate in AMC at 95 percent. 

Charleston has deployed 7,325 Airmen since Sept. 11 in support of the Global War on Terrorism, from all agencies around base; the 315th Airlift Wing activated 2,120 Airmen. 

Transporting cargo and flying missions are not the only war efforts Charleston is involved with. The Airmen of Charleston AFB have been able to accomplish so much to support the war in Iraq also because of the maintenance, medical and mission support units on base, said Colonel Joerger. 

Team Charleston's various capabilities and mission efficiency has supported the war in Iraq and the 437th and 315th Airlift Wings will continue to contribute to the fight.