The 315th Airlift Wing, together with our active duty wing, the 437th Airlift Wing provides a large part of Air Mobility Command's Global Reach airlift capability. This rapid, flexible and responsive air mobility promotes stability in regions by keeping America's capability and character highly visible.
The mission of the 315th Airlift Wing is to provide trained personnel to be a source of augmentation for the active forces in any emergency expansion of the Air Force strategic and aeromedical airlift capability. Additionally, the Wing performs peacetime missions and integrates with the active-duty 437th Airlift Wing in its normal Air Mobility Command operations and logistics missions. Both of these units are assigned to Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina.
The 315th AW has three major functional areas and nineteen subordinate units, which operate under the direction of three group commanders. These areas are operations, logistics, and support and aeromedical evacuation.
Charleston is home to about 56 C-17 Globemaster III aircraft. A C-17 crew consists of pilot, co-pilot, and loadmaster. Cost per unit is approximately $202.3 million. The C-17 has a cruise speed of 518 m.p.h. at 28,000 feet (Mach .74). It also has a global range with in-flight refueling. Its maximum load is 170,000 pounds, and it can fit two large buses, three helicopters, one of the Army's newest tanks or other outsized cargo. In addition it features heads-up display, can airdrop both cargo and 102 paratroopers, and is able to land on small, austere airfields--landing in as short as 3,000 feet. Aircrews of the 315th AW fly this aircraft which is assigned to the 437th AW.
The 315th AW is authorized 2,330 Reservists (356 officers and 1,974 enlisted); of these 282 are Air Reserve Technicians (36 officers and 246 enlisted). Actual assigned: 2,524 reservists and 71 civilian personnel (including students) and 1 AGR.
The air base portion of Joint Base Charleston includes a joint-use airfield, sharing two intersecting runways with Charleston International Airport. The primary runway is 9,001 feet long and the intersecting runway is 7,000 feet long. The base maintains the two runways and most of the taxiways, and security and crash rescue response for all flights.
Joint Base Charleston was the first fully operational C-17 base in the Air Force. The base is constantly involved in the Denton Amendment program flying humanitarian aid on available missions to worldwide destinations in more than 13 countries. From October 1, 2001 to September 30, 2002, the Denton program moved 428,534 lbs in 25 missions.
Joint Base Charleston either prepared or moved 80 percent of the cargo for the Denton program. Charleston has seven 60-K Tunner loaders that can easily transport and load heavy, palletized cargo on all aircraft. Additionally, Joint Base Charleston has more than 6,300 computers and 643 government owned vehicles
The 315 Military Airlift Wing (MAW), Associate was re-activated on 1 July 1973. The 315 MAW inherited the Lineage and Honors of the 315 Troop Carrier Group (TCG) that was stood up on 2 February 1942. The 315 TCG participated in many of the major European campaigns of World War II (WWII) including the D-Day Invasion on 5-6 June 1944. The 3-1-5 has taken part in most of the major conflicts of the 20th century: WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. Today, the 315 Airlift Wing remembers and honors its past by still keeping close ties with the surviving members of the original 315 TCG.
Significant events in the unit's history have included operation Nickel Grass--the support of Israel during the 1973 "Yom Kippur War"; the evacuation of refugees from Southeast Asia following the fall of the Republic of Vietnam in 1975; the Aeromedical evacuation of victims of the Canary Islands airline disaster in 1977; the Aeromedical evacuation of victims of the Jonestown, Guyana tragedy in 1978; the Aeromedical evacuation of U.S. Marines after the dormitory bombing in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1983; Operation Urgent Fury--military operations in Grenada in 1983; hurricane relief in the southeastern U.S. following Hurricane Hugo in 1989; earthquake relief in San Francisco, Calif., in 1989; Operation Just Cause--military operations in Panama in 1989; Operation Desert Shield--military operations in defense of Saudi Arabia in 1990; Operations Desert Storm/Desert Saber--military operations to liberate Kuwait in 1991; Operation Provide Comfort--relief to Kurdish refugees in northern Iraq and southern Turkey in 1991; Operation Provide Hope--relief to the Commonwealth of Independent States in 1992; Operation Restore Hope--relief to the people of Somalia and Operation Provide Hope II--relief to the war-torn Balkan states in 1993; and operation Support Hope relief to Rwandan refugees in 1994; Operation Joint Endeavor, the United Nations peacekeeping mission to Bosnia in 1996, Operation Enduring Freedom in 2002 and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 and Operation New Dawn in Iraq. During 2004, the flying squadrons of the 315 AW also took part in repatriation missions to bring home the remains of U.S Service members that gave their lives during the Vietnam War. The 315 AW has also come to the aid of the survivors of one of the world's greatest natural disasters, the 2005 south Asian tsunami's that took over 175,00 lives in that region.
During its long history, the 315th has amassed a number of honors. These include four campaign service streamers, three National Defense Service streamers, two Armed Forces Expeditionary service streamer, 24 campaign streamers, one Distinguished Unit Citation, two Presidential Unit Citations, the World War II Victory Medal, the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, three Republic of Vietnam Crosses with palms, and thirteen Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards, six with "V" for valor device.
Additionally, the Wing and/or its subordinate units have received, among its many awards, the Air Force Association (AFA) Outstanding Air Force Reserve Group/Wing Award four times; the AFA Outstanding Aircrew (President's) Award twice; the Air Force Reserve (AFRES) Outstanding Unit in the Air Force Reserve twice; the Fourteenth Air Force General Claire Lee Chennault Trophy twice; the AFRES Grover Loening Trophy twice; and the Reserve Officers' Association (ROA) Outstanding Reserve Unit Award. Currently assigned personnel hold literally thousands of individual awards and decorations, presented by higher headquarters, from the Korean conflict through the present.