Train and equip C-17 aircrews for global air-land and airdrop operations.
The squadron's origins begin on 1 October 1933 when it was constituted in the Regular Army Reserve, assigned to the 2d Transport Group in the IV Corps Area without personnel or equipment. Activated on 14 October 1939 in the United States Army Air Corps and activated at the Sacramento Air Depot, California as the 7th Transport Squadron; assigned to the 10th Transport Group. It was assigned Douglas C-33 transports with a mission for transporting supplies and equipment from the depot to field units at airfields in the Western United States.
After the Pearl Harbor Attack, the squadron was transferred to the 62d Troop Carrier Group and re-equipped with C-47 Skytrain transports. Initially transferred to Selfridge Field, Michigan for training, the squadron trained for combat resupply and casualty evacuation mission at several airfields during the spring and summer of 1942. Was ordered deployed to England, assigned to Eighth Air Force in September 1942. Performed intro-theater transport flights of personnel, supply and equipment within England during summer and fall of 1942, reassigned to Twelfth Air Force after Operation Torch invasion of North Africa, initially stationed at Tafaraoui Airfield, Algeria.
In combat, performed resupply and evacuation missions across Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia during North African Campaign. In March 1943, the squadron was temporarily transferred to Royal Air Force control where it supported the British Eighth Army in the Western Desert Campaign by moving essential munitions, supplies and other equipment from Palestine and Egypt to the front lines in Libya. It returned to Twelfth Air Force control in Algeria at the end of May.
During June 1943, the unit began training with gliders in preparation for Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily. It towed gliders to Syracuse, Sicily and dropped paratroopers at Catania during the operation. After moving to Sicily, the squadron airdropped supplies to escaped prisoners of war in Northern Italy in October. Operated from Sicily until December until moving to Italian mainland in December.
Supported the Italian Campaign during balance of 1944 supporting partisans in the Balkans. Its unarmed aircraft flew at night over uncharted territory, landing at small unprepared airfields to provide guns, ammunition, clothing, medical supplies, gasoline, and mail to the partisans. It even carried jeeps and mules as cargo. On return trips it evacuated wounded partisans, evadees and escaped prisoners. During the spring of 1944, the squadron was transferred to 10th Air Force in India where it carried combat cargo during the Siege of Myitkyina, Burma. Returning to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) in July 1944, it carried paratroopers during the Invasion of Southern France in August, 1944. The squadron then returned to operations over Italy and in the Balkans until end of combat in Europe, May, 1945. In all the 4th earned nine campaign ribbons during operations in both the European and China-Burma-India theaters in the Second World War.
The squadron returned to the United States in September 1946, being assigned to the troop carrier squadron training school at Bergstrom Field, Texas. When the school closed in July 1947, it was moved to McChord Field, Washington where its parent 62d Troop Carrier Group became the host unit at the airfield. It conducted routine peacetime transport operations, training with Army units at Fort Lewis with simulated combat parachute training drops flying C-46 Commandos and the new C-82 Packet combat cargo aircraft, designed to operate from forward, rugged airfields. It was deployed to Alaska in September 1947 where it flew airlift missions from Elmendorf Field during the winter of 1947-1948, returning to McChord in March 1948. In October 1949 it received the long-distance Douglas C-54 Skymaster
On 1 June 1950, its parent 62d TCW was inactivated, while the 62d Troop Carrier Group, less the 4th TCS was moved for a short time to Kelly Air Force Base, Texas, returning in July. During the Korean War, the squadron flew long, over-water trans-Pacific missions to Japan from McChord AFB. In 1951, it was upgraded to the new C-124 Globemaster II strategic airlifter. It moved to nearby Larson AFB when McChord was taken over by Air Defense Command in 1952. From Larson AFB, the squadron airlifted troops, blood plasma, aircraft parts, ammunition, medical supplies, and much more, primarily to Japan, in support of the Korean War until the armistice in June 1953. During the balance of the 1950s, the squadron supported the French forces in French Indochina, transporting a replacement French garrison to Dien Bien Phu in 1954.
By 1955 the Cold War was well under way, and the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) set out to build a chain of radar stations on the northernmost reaches of the continent. This chain of radars, known as the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line, was to detect incoming Soviet missiles and bombers, and give our forces enough warning to launch a counterattack, and get the National Command Authorities to safety. Between 1955 and 1957, the squadron began to fly missions to the Alaskan arctic regions, carrying 13 million pounds of supplies and equipment to build the DEW Line. The resupply of the DEW Line stations kept the squadron occupied until 1969. Its Globemasters also flew airlift missions in South Vietnam as the growing American commitment required more troops, supplies and equipment. In December 1969, as part of a budget reduction, the squadron was inactivated along with its C-124 Globemasters transferring its personnel to the other squadrons of the 62d MAW.
The 7th was reactivated just over a year later at Travis AFB, California as part of the 60th Military Airlift Wing, and was equipped with C-141 Starlifter jet transports. It was immediately put to use supporting the logistics missions of the Vietnam War, carrying personnel, equipment and supplies from the United States to South Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Japan, and other bases in the Western Pacific. Then, after the 1973 Paris Peace Accords, a squadron C-141 returned the first 20 US POWs from Clark AB, Republic of The Philippines to Travis AFB in Operation HOMECOMING. Over the next 6 weeks, 280 POWs were returned to Travis AFB to be reunited with their families and to receive medical care.
During the fall of 1973, the squadron supported Operation NICKEL GRASS, the support of Israel during the Yom Kippur War in the Middle East. As the Military Air Command's prime representative in this operation, the 7th flew C-141 missions to Israel and delivered over 22,000 tons of supplies and equipment.
To upgrade cargo carrying capacity, MAC initiated a major upgrade program for its C-141A fleet beginning in 1979. The project added an in-flight refueling system and 23 feet in length to the fuselage. The stretched "Starlifter" was designated the C-141B. The squadron sent its first C-141A to the Lockheed-Georgia Company on 13 August 1979. It received its last "B" model on 10 May 1982.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the 7th provided humanitarian support after Hurricane Hugo, Andrew, and Iniki; flood relief to Bangladesh and evacuation support after the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines. In addition, the 7th provided critical airlift support during Operation Restore Hope in Somalia, as well as delivering thousands of tons of relief supplies to the former Soviet Union.
In a 1991 re-alignment of assets as the C-141s at Travis were retiring, and the 60th was receiving former SAC KC-10 Tankers, the squadron was transferred back to its previous unit, the 62d Airlift Wing at McChord AFB, Washington which consolidated Air Mobility Command's C-141 fleet.
At McChord, the 7th received its first C-17 in 1998, and began to retire its C-141s. It maintained a Starlifter flight until 2002 as the new Globemaster IIIs were received. One of the squadron's many firsts was the landing the first C-17 on the ice sheet near McMurdo Station in Antarctica in 1999, and landing the first C-17 in North Korea a few weeks later.
Recently, the 7th Airlift Squadron created another Expeditionary Airlift Squadron (EAS) alongside the 17th Airlift Squadron out of Charleston Air Force Base. For the first time in history, two C-17 Squadrons became deployed in forward theater locations, supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa. On 1 June 2006, the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron was created from half of the 817 EAS flying from "an undisclosed location in South West Asia". While the 817 EAS Flies from Incirlik Airbase, Turkey and Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan. The 7th helped initiate the new 2 EAS concept in C-17 operations.Constituted 7th Transport Squadron on 1 Oct 1933
Activated on 14 Oct 1939
Re-designated 7th Troop Carrier Squadron
on 4 Jul 1942
Inactivated on 27 Nov 1945
Activated on 7 Sep 1946
Re-designated 7th Troop Carrier Squadron, Medium
, on 23 Jun 1948
Re-designated 7th Troop Carrier Squadron, Heavy
, on 12 Oct 1949
Re-designated 7th Air Transport Squadron, Heavy
, on 1 Jan 1965
Re-designated 7th Military Airlift Squadron
on 8 Jan 1966
Inactivated on 22 Dec 1969
Activated on 13 Mar 1971
Re-designated 7th Airlift Squadron
on 1 Nov 1991.
10th Transport Group, 14 Oct 1939
62d Transport (later, 62d Troop Carrier) Group, 11 Dec 1940-14 Nov 1945
Unknown 15-27 Nov 1945
62d Troop Carrier Group, 7 Sep 1946
Attached to: Yukon Sector, Alaskan Air Command, 15 Sep 1947-5 Mar 1948
Attached to: 62d Troop Carrier Wing, 8-14 Jan 1960
62d Troop Carrier (later, 62d Air Transport; 62d Military Airlift) Wing, 15 Jan 1960-22 Dec 1969
60th Military Airlift Wing, 13 Mar 1971
60th Military Airlift Group, 6 Mar 1978
60th Military Airlift Wing, 15 Feb 1979
60th Operations Group, 1 Nov 1991
62d Operations Group, 1 Oct 1993–Present