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    Charleston AFB, SC History

    Charleston Field is now part of Joint Base Charleston, and has a long history of service with the USAF. Charleston began as a municipal airport serving Charleston, South Carolina, but in 1939 was acquired by the US Army Air Corps as part of buildup preparation for expected US involvement in the war in Europe. Charleston continued as a civilian airport until early 1942, when full control was assumed by the Army Air Force, and now Charleston Army Air Base gained several pursuit and observation squadrons for antisubmarine defense of the US east coast. As World War Two progressed, Charleston became an air training depot and departure point for units transferring to active combat in Europe.

    At the end of the war the much improved and expanded Charleston Base was leased to the city of Charleston for civilian airport duties. The Cold War prompted a partial return of Charleston Field to Air Force duty, and military activity returned in 1953 with the assignment of 456th Troop Carrier Wing, and soon the 1608th Air Transport Group arrived as well. Charleston had a new mission as a worldwide airlift base, housing a variety of air transport units, as well as hosting several tactical fighter squadrons for defense of transports and against potential bombers or airlifted invasion.

    Units deactivated and activated at Charleston over the next thirty years, all in support of the base airlift mission, until service-wide base reorganization in the 1990s, and another reorganization in the 2000s, resulting in reassignment to the Air Mobility Command, and a joint base union with the US Navy Naval Support Activity Charleston, but the role of Charleston Field remains much as it has since World War Two: defend and transport.