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701st Airlift Squadron [701st AS]

The 701st Airlift Squadron is the newest C-17A squadron in the US Air Force, beginning C-17A conversion in October 1997 from the C-141B Starlifter.

The 701st AS traces its origins to the 701st Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) which was constituted on 20 March 1943 and assigned to the 445th Bombardment Group (Heavy), Second Air Force. It was activated on 1 April 1943 at Gowen Field, Boise, ID. The first aircraft assigned was the B-24D.

On 20 October 1943, the ground echelon of the 701st entrained at Scribner, NE, for Camp Shanks, NY, and a staging area for overseas movement. The party boarded the Queen Mary on 27 October 1943, and six days later landed at Gourock, Scotland. The squadron then traveled by train to its permanent station at Tibenham, England. Throughout the month of November, flying crews fresh from training in the United States arrived with their airplanes at Tibenham.

The 701st began its combat record on 13 December 1943 with a bombing raid on U-boat installations at Kriel, Germany. The 701st went on to participate in approximately 260 missions during World War II.

The 701st lost approximately 20 B-24 H's and J's due to accident and/or combat loss. Four of the 701st aircraft were shot down over Gotha, Germany on 24 February 1944. The squadron received a Distinguished Unit Citation for actions over the objective. Four other 701st aircraft were shot down on 27 September 1944 over Kassel, Germany. On this day the 445th Bomb Group launched 37 aircraft against the target and lost 25 aircraft shot down and 5 more written off to crashes. 27 September 1944 became the Eighth Air Force's greatest one-day loss of bomber aircraft during the war.

Following the end of World War II, the 701st squadron was deactivated on 12 September 1945.

On 13 may 1947, the 701st Squadron was reactivated and redesignated the 701st Bomb Squadron (Very Heavy). It was activated in the reserve on 12 July 1947 and inactivated on 27 June 1949.

It was redesignated as the 701st Fighter-Bomber Squadron on 24 June 1952 and activated in the reserve on 8 July 1952. It inactivated on 1 July 1957 and was redesignated 701st Troop Carrier Squadron, flying the C-47 (Medium), on 24 October 1957. It was activated in the reserve on 16 November 1957. It was later redesignated as the 701st Troop Carrier, flying the C-123 (Assault), on 25 September 1958. The unit was ordered into active service on 28 October 1962 and relieved from active duty on 28 November 1962. The squadron inactivated on 15 December 1965.

Redesignated the 701st Military Airlift Squadron (Associate) on 16 September 1970, flying the C-141, it activated in the Reserve on 25 September 1970 at its current duty station, Charleston Air Force Base, SC, the squadron was redesignated as the 701st Airlift Squadron. On 1 October 1997, the 701st converted to the C-17 Globemaster III.

Since 1970, the squadron has flown numerous combat and combat support missions during the Vietnam War, Operation Nickel Grass (resupply of Israel Oct-Nov 1973), Beirut, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Haiti and Bosnia. The 701st received the Chenalt Trophy for having flown a total of over 28,000 hours during the 10 months it was activated during the Gulf War. This is one of the most honored awards a squadron can receive.

The 701st Airlift Squadron has carried numerous tons of humanitarian relief supplies within the United States and world wide during times of droughts, floods, famines, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, typhoons, volcano eruptions and just about any other natural and/or man made disaster known.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:14:53 ZULU