Pelicans Roost — Charleston Airmen Return Home from Iraq

C-17 Globemaster III

C-17 Globemaster III

The C-17 Globemaster III guarantees America’s global military and humanitarian reach. Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., home to the US Air Force’s first C-17 wing, is America’s gateway to the world. Find this same C-17 on a poster, framed print, or 12-month calendar at The PatriArt Gallery.

 

 

More than 125 Airmen from the 14th Airlift Squadron returned home Sept. 3 after being deployed more than four months to Southwest Asia supporting Operation’s Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

While deployed, the 14th AS “Pelicans” flew more than three thousand missions with nearly four thousand hours of flying time. They moved more than 108 million pounds of cargo and airlifted more than 70 thousand passengers.

The 14th AS also completed 25 successful airdrop missions over 41 drop zones totaling more than one million pounds of ammunition, food and water U.S. and Coalition troops in need of supplies.

Additionally, Pelican crews transported more than a thousand Georgians and moved more than 130,000 pounds of cargo to Tbilisi in assistance to the Republic of Georgia for their recent crisis.

Capt. Steven Brown, a pilot from the 14th AS said it was fulfilling to employ all his pilot training by flying combat missions, especially since this was his first deployment.

“At the end of the day I really had a sense of accomplishment knowing our C-17s were bringing essential supplies to the front lines and helping the troops on the ground,” said Captain Brown. “It was tough to be away from loved ones for four months, but the sense of pride I had after delivering food, water or ammo to the war or evacuating injured soldiers made it easier.”

Airman 1st Class Thomas Benson, an intelligence analyst assigned to the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron, said that this deployment provided him valuable experience. 

“The 14th Airlift Squadron has so much experience and personality that it would have been impossible to have walked away without a better understanding of the operational world and the people in it,” said Airman Benson, “Looking back on this experience one will easily see that exceptional leadership, excellent people, and extra ordinary skill, were the key elements leading to the successes of this squadron.”

Lt. Col. Norman Czubaj , 816th EAS and 14th AS commander said the deployment has been a truly humbling experience for him, as he watched talented Airmen perform each mission with excellence.

“It has been a blessing to lead the 14th AS and our operations support section folks as the commander of the 816th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron,” he said. “None of it would be possible without the loving support of our families back home … the silent heroes and warriors.”

Paul Kilgallon

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