C-17 National Guard Units in the USA

In today’s post, my goal is to educate you about the C-17 Globemaster and share the top C-17 National Guard Units in the USA.

The C-17 was first developed and introduced to the United States military in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. McDonnell Douglas was the first manufacturer and designer of this military transport plane. In time, Boeing merged with McDonnell Douglas and the C-17s now in use carry Boeing as the manufacturer.

The C-17 has transported troops, vehicles such as tanks, trucks, and armored personnel carriers, as well as other equipment and supplies. The maximum payload of the C-17 is 170,900 pounds. That’s more than 85 tons! The C-17 was designed to operate on short runways and also has the ability to operate from unpaved runways.

Besides the United States, many other countries have purchased C-17s. These countries include:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • India
  • Kuwait
  • Qatar
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • and NATO

Overall, the C-17 has been, and is an excellent transport vehicle.


The C-17 Globemaster III, is fast, flexible, and effective. The ultimate measure of airlift effectiveness is how quickly the aircraft can get a combat force close to a potential battle area. The C-17 is capable of rapid, strategic troop and cargo delivery to main operating bases or directly to forward bases. The aircraft can perform tactical airlift and airdrop missions as well as transporting litters and ambulatory patients during aeromedical evacuations. ~ Air National Guard

Top C-17 National Guard Units

Now that I’ve educated you about this amazing airplane, let’s cover the top C-17 Units in the National Guard.

105th Airlift Wing

This New York Air National Guard unit is based at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, New York. The history of this unit goes back to 1956 when it was established and given to the New York Guard. The 105th has airlifted troops and supplies for many conflicts and emergencies. Some of those events include:

  • Vietnam
  • Puerto Rico after Hurricane Gloria
  • Jamaica after Hurricane Gilbert
  • Japan to search for a crashed Sikorsky in the East China Sea
  • Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands after Hurricane Hugo
  • Operation Provide Hope
  • Operation Just Cause
  • and Operation Desert Shield
  • Operation Desert Storm
  • as well as Operation Provide Comfort
  • and many, many more

The 105th has been a great help in and out of the mainland in support to extreme emergencies.

164th Airlift Wing

A unit of the Tennessee Air National Guard, the 164th Airlift Wing is based at Memphis Air National Guard Base.

The 164th has origins dating back to 1942. In those days, it was a fighter unit but in 1961, the unit became the 164th Air Transport Group and started dropping supplies for many humanitarian missions.

This unit provided many flights in support of Operation Desert Storm. This unit is highly prepared to load and drop at a moments notice by order of the Governor of Tennessee or the President of the United States.

167th Airlift Wing

The history of the 167th Airlift Wing goes back to 1958 when they were simply a squadron. In 1972, the 167th became the 167th Tactical Airlift Group and a unit of the West Virginia Air National Guard.

The 167th’s operational base is at Shepherd Field Air National Guard Base in Martinsburg, West Virginia. The 167th has been quite active in humanitarian missions during hurricanes, forest fires, earthquakes, and floods. It was also the first called to volunteer in Operation Desert Shield.

The 167th Airlift Wing of the West Virginia Air National Guard is an airlift unit that flies the C-17 Globemaster III aircraft. For more than 60 years the wing has served the state and nation by providing outstanding capability across a variety of missions, beginning in its earliest days when it flew the F-51 Mustang and F-86 Sabre fighters. The unit has deployed to the four corners of the Earth in support of the Global War on Terrorism and continues to support this effort. The 167th’s focus today, and in the future, is summed up in the unit’s motto: “Mountaineer Pride Worldwide.” ~ 167th Airlift Wing

172nd Airlift Wing

A unit of the Mississippi Air National Guard, the 172nd is based at Allen C. Thompson Field Air National Guard Base in Jackson, Mississippi.

The 172nd was established in the early 1960’s. A cool thing about this unit is the volunteering of personnel to fly weekly missions to fly injured and sick military personnel back to the United States. The 172nd also has flown relief for various hurricanes and earthquakes.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the C-17 Globemaster has an important role in today’s battlefield. The Air National Guard established several C-17 units strategically throughout the United States. If you’re one of the fortunate few to serve in one of these units, I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below to share your thoughts and tell us about your experience. I look forward to hearing from you.

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chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)
Publisher, Part-Time-Commander.com
Email: mrchuckholmes@gmail.com

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