Airlift squadron celebrates 70 years

by Airman 1st Class Trevor Rhynes
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

“As a modern day squadron, we stand on the shoulders of giants of the people who came before us,” said 1st Lt. Brett Polage, 37th Airlift Squadron historian. “They have paved the way for us to be successful, so we now show our respect for them.”

The 37th Airlift Squadron was activated Feb. 14, 1942, at Patterson Field, Ohio. The 37th AS has participated in multiple operations spanning various wars like operations Market Garden, the D-Day landings in World War II, troop transport in Korea and Operation Homecoming in Vietnam, which was the mission to bring back POWs in 1973.

The celebration consisted of events such as a mass airdrop, a static display including C-130J Super Hercules, a German C-160, and a British C-47. The mass airdrop was made up of more than 300 jumpers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team from Vicenza, Italy and Ramstein’s 435th Contingency Response Group.

The main event of the weekend was the 300 jumper airdrop Friday.

“We celebrated part of our 70th anniversary by doing an eight-ship C-130J formation airdrop,” said Chief Master Sgt. Lewis Holston Jr., 37th AS superintendent. “Everything we had planned went just right.”

 Holston credits Airmen from maintenance as a large part of the reason this mission went well.

 “None of this would have happened without our brothers from maintenance working countless hours to get our aircraft ready to fly,” he said. “It’s challenging to get a C-130J prepped to fly, but these Airmen do it without an issue.”

All in all, participants in the events held over the weekend did a good job of honoring those who came before them.

“The 70th anniversary weekend was held to honor those who came before us,” said Lt. Col. Josh Olson, 37th squadron commander. “We feel as though this weekend was highly successful in doing that.”