CHARLESTON AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. –
Editor's Note: As the 437th Airlift Wing gears up to inactivate the 17th Airlift Squadron, we hope you enjoy the walk down memory lane with us as we reprint stories that highlight the achievements of the Air Force's first operational C-17 squadron. This week's article was first printed in the April 25, 1997 edition of the Airlift Dispatch.
The 17th Airlift Squadron has been awarded the Gen. Joseph Smith trophy and was named as the Air Mobility Command Airlift Squadron of the Year for 1996.
"I think part of the reason we won is because we're the first operational C-17 squadron in the world," said Maj. Fred Cianciolo, operations officer and acting squadron commander. "That in itself brings high visibility missions for the squadron as well as the wing."
Living up to their motto of, "Anything, Anywhere, Anytime" was fore front in their gaining of this prestigious award.
Members of the 17th AS are also credited with carrying President Clinton into Bosnia in 1996 during Operation Joint Endeavor.
"When we flew President Clinton, that was an honor to carry the commander in chief.
It was an honor for the squadron to be entrusted with him and other distinguished visitors on board," Cianciolo said.
Although the award was given to the 17th AS, "the award is for both of the C-17 squadrons," Cianciolo said. "Many of their folks flew with us and it's a team effort," he added.
Also included in the award-winning team are all of the maintenance and support agencies that help on a daily basis to ensure on-time departure for the aircrews.
"Everybody on base pulls together to make it happen," Cianciolo said. "No squadron can do anything without the help of its wing."