Charleston Reservists Highlight Air Mobility, International Partnerships at Berlin Airshow

  • Published
  • By Capt. Justin Clark
  • 315th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

A team of  Air Force Reservists from Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, continued the U.S. Air Force commitment to international allies by showcasing a C-17 Globemaster III air mobility aircraft during the prestigious ILA Berlin Airshow here, June 5-9, 2024.

The International Aerospace Exhibition Berlin—in German, the Internationale Luft- und Raumfahrtausstellung (ILA)—is a large international aviation trade show combined with an airshow held every two years, this year it was held Berlin Brandenburg International Airport. It is an opportunity for aerospace and defense companies to exhibit new and emerging aerospace technologies before potential buyers, and is one of the largest and longest-running airshow events in the world.

The team from the 300th Airlift Squadron, a component of the 315th Airlift Wing, based at Joint Base Charleston, S.C., showcased the C-17 aircraft to highlight their ability to swiftly transport personnel, equipment, and humanitarian aid to regions around the world.

"Aviation, right now, is a very quickly evolving field," said Maj. Gregory Marx, C-17 pilot with the 300 AS, who served on the team for the C-17 display. "There's a very good possibility in the future, we are going to work in contested airspace. It's important to know what we can do to help others and how we can help them achieve their mission, as well as know what their capabilities are going to be in the airspace."

Reportedly more than 85,000 attendees, aircrew members, aviation personnel, and trade show expositors attended the event.

Participation in the ILA Berlin Air Show promotes standardization and interoperability of equipment with NATO allies and other potential coalition partners, highlighting the strength of the U.S. commitment to the security of Europe. Including a variety of U.S. aircraft in the air show continues the U.S. assurance to its European allies and partners, and showcases U.S. capabilities to a large and diverse audience.

The value added by the U.S. support to international partners was underscored by Lt. Col. Gerald "Titan" Gross, Eurofighter Typhoon pilot with the German Air Force.

"It's kind of an emotional moment to see the aircraft here sitting on the ramp here at ILA Berlin," said Gross. "We actually get the chance to share our thoughts with aviators from around the world... We meet them a lot in the air, but here we actually have the chance to be the on the ground and just talk. So, as long as it goes for me, interoperability is the absolute key to success."

The large international event serves as an opportunity to talk to aviators from other countries as well, including NATO partners and the German hosts. Gross explained the unique value of meeting C-17 pilots from the U.S. Air Force due to his own connection with the aircraft.

"We can exchange, we can talk and we can further extend our cooperation," said Gross. "The U.S. Air Force is our biggest partner, providing airlift capability with the C-17. As for myself, it was the C-17 that actually got me into my mission in Afghanistan and brought me back home."

As Air Force Reservists, the 315 AW showcasing a C-17 strategic airlifter also shows the skill and strategic depth that Reservists bring to the U.S. airlift capabilities. Particularly, many Air Force Reserve pilots have civilian professional careers as airline or cargo pilots, which means they have additional skills and often more flight hours than their Active-Duty counterparts with equivalent years.

"The 315 AW brings an aspect in which we can bring from our civilian jobs into the military airspace," said Marx. "It's great for us to have the ability to go work in the airlines and bring that knowledge and capability over to the military side, especially when working in international theaters."

The U.S. military participating in air shows and similar trade exhibitions provides direct, objective, and candid portraits of the capabilities of the U.S. aircraft presented, which improves international understanding between nations. U.S. involvement in ILA Berlin is in its national security interest and contributes to its international defense cooperation objectives.

"I really appreciate the invitation to come here to meet with all of our international partners," said Marx. "It's been a great time and we've been able to exchange a lot of greetings and contacts for the future for training."

U.S. Air Force aircraft on display included an F-35 Lighting II, KC-46 Pegasus, two F-16 Fighting Falcons, RQ-7 Shadow, U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon, U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk, and U.S. Army AH-64 Apache, in addition to the C-17. More than 200 U.S. personnel participated in the displays and air show, including aircrew, aircraft maintenance, security, publicity, and administrative support. The U.S. Air Forces in Europe Band performed several musical sets from beneath the wing of the C-17 to the large crowd.

The 315th Airlift Wing's mission is to provide and deliver global combat-ready airlift, expeditionary combat support and aeromedical evacuation personnel as a source of augmentation for the active forces in any emergency expansion of the Air Force strategic and aeromedical airlift capabilities.

More information on the 315th Airlift Wing can be found at

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