Joint Base Lewis-McChord honored the 80th anniversary of the 7th Airlift Squadron on Oct. 18, 2019.
“For 80 years now since activation on Oct. 14, 1939, the 7th Airlift Squadron has pursued American interests above the seven seas and across the seven continents in both war and peace,” said Lt. Col. Jamil Musa, 7th Airlift Squadron commander. “While the machines have changed, the spirit of adventure, personal sacrifice, and sense of service of the people has remained constant. The men and women of the 7th Airlift Squadron constitute our nation’s SWORD.”
The 7th Airlift Squadron is one of the oldest active airlift squadrons in the U.S. Air Force. Originally constituted as the 7th Troop Squadron Oct. 1, 1933, it officially activated at the Sacramento Air Depot, California, Oct. 14, 1939, and flew a mix of C-33s, C-39s, C-53s, and B-10s. After the United States entered World War II, the 7th re-designated as the 7th Troop Carrier Squadron and began training on C-47s at Kellogg Field in Michigan. In 1942, it was among the first units to deploy into the war zone.
During the Korean conflict, the 7th flew long, over water missions to Japan while temporarily assigned to McChord Air Force Base. It later received two Outstanding Unit Awards for support to the French in Vietnam and efforts during the Cuban Blockade.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the 7th provided humanitarian support after Hurricanes Hugo, Andrew and Iniki; flood relief to Bangladesh and evacuation support after the eruption of Mount 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 1993, the 7th Airlift Squadron returned to McChord and the 62nd Airlift Wing from Travis Air Force Base, California.
Since 2001, the 7th supported missions in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom (2001 – 2014) and Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom/New Dawn (2003 – 2010). After 2014, the 7th provided combat airlift missions delivering troops, equipment and supplies in the fight against the Taliban and ISIL in Operations Freedom’s Sentinel (Afghanistan) and Inherent Resolve (Iraq).