by Senior Airman Zachary Cacicia
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
9/29/2015 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- "Once a Pelican, always a Pelican," said Lt. Col. Matthew Husemann, 9th Airlift Squadron commander.
The 9th AS celebrated its 75th Anniversary with various events and reunions Sept. 25-26, 2015, at Dover AFB, Delaware.
"The Proud Pelicans have been built by 75 years of tradition from the
leaders that have come before us," said Husemann. "They're the ones that
taught us how to move the mission; they're the shoulders of the giants
we stand on today."
The 75th Anniversary weekend's events and reunions included a golf
tournament at Eagle Creek Golf Course and a Block Party Cookout on
Friday. Saturday saw a 75th Anniversary Barbecue Lunch and a Plane Pull
at the Air Mobility Command Museum. Countless 9th AS alumni, current
Pelicans and their families attended this event. The weekend's
activities concluded with the 75th Anniversary Reunion Banquet at the
Duncan Center in downtown Dover.
"It's a time for former Pelicans to interact with current ones," said
Capt. Joel Loftus, 9th AS pilot and 75th Anniversary events organizer.
"This whole weekend is about us reflecting on how some things have
changed, and how some things stayed the same."
Originally designated at the 9th Transportation Squadron, the 9th
activated on Dec. 1, 1940, a year prior to the American entry into World
War II. During the war, the 9th went through several changes. In 1942,
it was redesignated as the 9th Troop Carrier Squadron and moved from its
original home at Patterson Field, Ohio, to Camp Williams, Wisconsin.
The squadron then moved to Hickam Field, Hawaii, in early 1944 to
support operations in the Pacific against Japan. The squadron's mission
consisted of transporting cargo, mail and passengers, as well as the air
evacuation of the wounded. Highlights for the squadron include aircrews
dropping supplies to U.S. Marines fighting on the island of Iwo Jima,
and deforestation spraying missions over the islands of Okinawa. The
squadron was decorated with several campaign streamers during the war to
include: Air Offensive - Japan, Eastern Mandates, Western Pacific,
Ryukyu Islands, New Guinea, Biskmark Archipelago and Leyte. The 9th TCS
was inactivated on Oct. 15, 1946.
The squadron reactivated and re-inactivated several times over the next
two decades, and redesignated itself as the 9th Military Airlift
Squadron. During this time, the squadron settled down and began to grow
roots in its new home, Dover AFB, in 1968. The squadron inactivated one
last time in that year to prepare for its new fleet of C-5 Galaxies in
1971. Since receiving the C-5, the squadron has supported nearly every
major airlift operation throughout the world. In 1991, the squadron once
again redesignated itself to its current name, as the 9th Airlift
Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Pelicans have once
again taken center stage. By the end of 2001, the 9th flew more than 535
sorties and delivered more than 25.5 million pounds of cargo in support
of Operations Enduring Freedom, Noble eagle, and Infinite Justice. In
2003, the squadron once again answered the nation's call in support of
Operation Iraqi Freedom, surging to a 300 percent operations tempo. The
squadron flew 11,161 hours and moved 106,767 pounds of cargo and 23,000
Today, the 9th AS continues to support military and humanitarian
operations around the world. The 9th AS will fly to wherever the U.S.
needs it to.
Over the past 75 years, the 9th AS has operated C-33 Debonairs, C-34
Airmasters, C-39 DC-2s, C-50 Twin Bonanzas, C-53 Skytroppers, C-47
Skytrains, C-46 Commandos, C-54 Skymasters, C-124 Globemaster IIs,
C-141Starlifters and C-5 Galaxies. Today, they fly the newly upgraded
C-5M Super Galaxies. The dedicated pilots, loadmasters and flight
engineers of the 9th AS have operated all of these aircraft.
"We are the Proud Pelicans, we are the 9th Airlift Squadron," said
Husemann. "We often talk about the four patches that you wear on your
flight suit as you go out and who it is that you represent."
Pointing to the American Flag on his left shoulder, Husemann said,
"We've had a storied tradition to always be able to represent the United
States of America, and that's first and foremost."
The commander then pointed to the AMC emblem on his right chest.
"Then we represent Air Mobility Command," he said. "The patch has
changed over the years, depending on where the 9th has called home."
The third patch that Husemann pointed to was the blue and orange squadron patch on his right shoulder.
"The other patch that you get to wear is that patch on your shoulder
that is the Proud Pelican," he said. "The power behind that patch and
what you represent is 75 years of excellence, moving the mission and
rocking it all over the world."
The fourth and final patch Husemann pointed to was his nametag.
"Finally, the thing that you represent is yourself," he said. "So if you
are going to call yourself a Proud Pelican, then you better represent