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NEWS | Oct. 10, 2023

America's Oldest Airlift Squadron turns 90

By Senior Airman Matt Porter 87th Air Base Wing

Service members and distinguished guests recently celebrated the 90th anniversary of the 6th Airlift Squadron at Dock 11 on 5 October, 2023.

The 6th Airlift Squadron, the oldest Airlift Squadron in the Air Force, predates the Air Force itself. It was initially established as the 6th Transport Squadron on October 1, 1933, and officially activated in 1939. During World War II, it earned the nickname "Bully Beef Express" for its role in delivering "Bully Beef" tins to Australian Forces in the South Pacific islands.

Throughout its history, the Squadron has been a top performer, receiving four Presidential Unit Citations for its actions in World War II and the Korean War, as well as 16 Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards, solidifying its status as one of the Air Force's most decorated air mobility units.

Remarkably, the 6th Airlift Squadron boasts one of the Air Force's best safety records, with no Class A accidents in over 50 years of flying. With no indication of slowing down, the 6th ALS remains ready to respond to our nation's next challenge.

"Similar to our predecessors 81 years ago, we may not know precisely where our mission will take us in the Pacific, but we will stand shoulder to shoulder with our total force partners, maintain tight formations, and defend the principles of this great nation," stated Lt. Col. Michael Boyer, Commander of the 6th Airlift Squadron.

The event also paid tribute to the squadron's rich heritage with a distinguished keynote speaker and a former 6th ALS Commander.

"Reflecting on my career and the various squadrons I've had the privilege to lead, my time with the 6th holds a special place in my heart, and I will forever take pride in being part of its legacy," said Lt. Gen. William Welser III (retired).

With a fleet of 13 Boeing C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, the Bully Beef Express is once again blazing a trail to the Pacific, returning to its roots to safeguard the region and support our allies.