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NEWS | May 26, 2015

17th Airlift Squadron; A look back: Base get's fourth flying unit as 17th MAS is reactivated

By Airman 1st Class Stefan Alford 437th Military Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Editor's Note: As the 437th Airlift Wing gears up to deactivate 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 article was first printed in the Aug. 7, 1987 edition of the Airlift Dispatch. 

Eighteen years after being deactivated here, the 17th Military Airlift Squadron was reinstated during a ceremony at the base flagpole Monday.

The long-rested guidon bearing the 17th MAS emblem was passed from Lt. Col. (Ret) Edwin E. Green the former unit commander, to Lt. Col. Michael W. Wooley, the new commander, as Maj. Gen. Donald A. Logeais, 21st Air Force commander officiated over the ceremonies.

"It's a challenge I look forward to," Colonel Wooley said. "The squadron will give a more manageable span of control to the flying squadron commanders."

Colonel James F. Hinkel, 437th Military Airlift Wing commander said, "We're involved in so many things mission-wise, and our flying squadrons are reasonably large by Air Force standards, that it makes it difficult for the squadron commanders to get involved with their people. This enables us to better deal with our people, and that's a big factor as far as pilot retention is concerned.

"It also improved my span of control," he continued, "because I know with more supervisors the people will be better taken care of."

Colonel Hinkel added that the transition process incorporating the 17th MAS into the wing will be gradual. "Starting around the October timeframe, the squadron will be picking up one-third of the missions the other squadrons fly. By next April all four squadrons will be fling an equal workload."

The 17th MAS is comprised of members and planes from Charleston's 20th, 41st, and 76th Military Airlift Squadrons.

The 17th MAS was first activated as the 17th Air Corps Ferrying Squadron at Hamilton Field, Ca., in April 1942.

Over the next 20 years, the 17th was renamed a number of times before finally becoming the 17th MAS in January 1966.

At the squadron's deactivation in 1969, the 17th MAS received a flying safety award for over 225,000 hours of accident-free flying.

At the reactivation ceremony, Colonel Hinkel challenged Colonel Wooley "and other leaders and members of the 17th MAS to live up to the Charleston tradition of excellence and continue where Colonel Green and his people left off 18 years ago."