JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. --
Citizen Airmen from Team Charleston at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, flew a C-17 Globemaster III down the coast of South Carolina, starting around Cherry Grove and ending off the coast of Beaufort, July 4, 2020, as part of the 11th annual Salute from the Shore.
Along with the C-17 being flown by a 315th Airlift Wing crew here, two F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 169th Fighter Wing, McEntire Joint National Guard Base, and a privately owned P-51 Mustang, also flew down the coast.
“We at Salute from the Shore are hopeful that when the C-17 passes overhead it provides a visual reminder of the freedom that has been delivered by the men and women in our armed services,” said Spann Laffitte, board chair of Salute From the Shore in Columbia. “We honor them, their families, and all of those that came before them.”
The flyover started at approximately 1 p.m. slightly north of Myrtle Beach in Cherry Grove. The flight continued down the coast making flyovers near Pawley’s Island, Isle of Palms, Charleston Harbor, Folly Beach, Edisto Island, Hilton Head Island and finished near Beaufort.
Salute From the Shore says that their mission is to “Unite participants in a synchronized salute to our troops that will be shared across the nation and across the world.”
“It is truly an honor to be able to do this,” said Senior Airman Gage Stevens, a loadmaster with Team Charleston. “Being able to wave to everyone on the shore and just wear the uniform on July 4th fills me with a sense of patriotism.”
The flight held another meaning for the crew, as it was a dedication to 1st Lt. David Schmitz, a pilot with the 77th Fighter Squadron at Shaw Air Force Base, who recently lost his life when his F-16CM crashed during a training mission June 30.
“Being able to fly the flag in remembrance of David was extremely humbling,” said Capt. Dennis Conner, a C-17 pilot with Team Charleston. “Being able to share this moment with his previous airframe and his most recent is something my crew and I will never forget.”
Schmitz was a loadmaster on C-17s prior to commissioning and flying F-16s.
Flights like this allow our Reserve aircrews to train in a joint operating environment following a strict time table on a planned course with other military branches.
More information about the event can be found at https://salutefromtheshore.org/ or by visiting the 315th Airlift Wing Facebook page.