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|1608th Air Transport Wing
C-124C Globemaster IIs loading cargo about 1960
|Branch||United States Air Force|
|Motto(s)||Safety - Service|
|Decorations||Air Force Outstanding Unit Award|
|1608th Air Transport Wing emblem|
The 1608th Air Transport Wing is a discontinued United States Air Force unit. It was last assigned to the Eastern Transport Air Force of Military Air Transport Service (MATS) at Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina. It performed strategic airlift missions until it was discontinued on 8 January 1966 and replaced by the 437th Military Airlift Wing of Military Airlift Command, which inherited its honors, but not its lineage or history.
The wing was established in 1955 at Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina When Military Air Transport Service (MATS) expanded its operations there after assuming jurisdiction of the base from Tactical Air Command three months earlier.
The 1608th was initially established as a Douglas C-54 Skymaster medium transport unit, transporting cargo within the United States to other USAF stations. It was upgraded to heavy transport wing and re-equipped with long-range intercontinental Douglas C-124 Globemaster IIs for cargo transportation and Lockheed C-121 Constellations for passenger overseas transportation. The wing established an aerial port in 1956 for embarkation to and from the United States as well as large air terminal for transshipment of cargo. The 1608th received Lockheed C-130E Hercules transports in 1962 to replace its C-121s. It added jet Lockheed C-141 Starlifters in 1965 to replace the C-124s.
The wing was discontinued on 8 January 1966. Its equipment and personnel were reassigned to the 437th Military Airlift Wing the same date. Its history and honors (although not its lineage) were bestowed on the 437th to indicate that its replacement was only a conversion from a major command controlled (MAJCON) wing to an Air Force controlled (AFCON) wing. Its component units with the number 1608 were replaced by units with the new wing's number with the exception of the 1608th USAF Dispensary, which was reassigned to the 437th.