908th Airlift Wing Mission

908th Airlift Wing shield

The 908th Airlift Wing is composed of the following units plus a small headquarters element: the 908th Aeromedical Staging Squadron; 908th Operations Group and its associated units 357th Airlift Squadron, 908th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron and 908th Operations Support Flight; 908th Maintenance Group and its associated units 908th Maintenance Squadron, 908th Maintenance Operations Flight and 908th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron; and 908th Mission Support Group and its associated units 908th Mission Support Squadron, 908th Logistics Readiness Squadron, 908th Civil Engineering Squadron, 908th Security Forces Squadron, 25th Aerial Port Squadron, 908th Communications Flight and 908th Services Flight. In carrying out their training, these units provide direct support to the active-duty components of the Army and Air Force.

The wing has approximately 1,200 officers and Airmen who serve the unit as reservists, normally spending one weekend a month and two weeks of annual tour per year with the unit. The day-to-day operations of the 908th are handled by a group of 175 civil servants known as Air Reserve Technicians, who also serve as reservists, and a small number of civilian employees.

The Secretary of the Air Force, Hon. Barbara Barrett, announced on 20 November 2020 that Maxwell AFB, Alabama was selected as the location to host the MH-139 Formal Training Unit. The 908th would lose its worldwide airlift mission and its C-130H aircraft but would be the recipient of the first ten MH-139 Grey Wolf helicopters in the Air Force inventory. A new squadron will train pilots in the airframe, which will provide security and support for the nation’s intercontinental ballistic missile fields.

Recent Operational Activities

On 2 April 2022, the 357th Airlift Squadron flew its last C-130H mission in a four-ship formation to the Gulf Coast and back. Within a week, all remaining C-130s were flown to their new home in Little Rock, Arkansas. 

Over the spring and summer of 2021, the 908 AW executed the largest deployment in wing history while navigating the COVID pandemic and preparing for a remission.  Approximately three hundred wing personnel deployed to various locations in southwest Asia in the summer of 2021. Most of those deployed were in the 908th Operations Group, 908th Maintenance Group, and 357th Airlift Squadron and were stationed at Ali Al Salem Airbase, Kuwait.

A team from the 908th Aeromedical Staging Squadron assisted in the evacuation of personnel from Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan in August 2021. They treated multiple critical injuries after the terrorist bombing on 26 August and helped evacuate the 13 U.S. service members killed along with 18 others who were injured. After evacuating hundreds of military and civilian patients throughout the month, they were among the last personnel to leave Kabul on 30 August, only hours before the return of Taliban rule. 

On 11 October 2021, a deployed Maxwell crew participated in the evacuation of President Biden’s former interpreter, Aman Khalili in a high-profile mission. Within six hours of receiving the tasking, the crew flew from Kuwait to Pakistan and back to evacuate Khalili and his family in a 19 ½ hour mission, the longest by any crew on the deployment.

Two C-130H aircraft and crews participated in the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of D Day in June 2019 at Normandy, France. Maintainers painted black and white “invasion stripes” on the fuselage and wings to honor the C-47s that dropped airborne troops on that historic day.

In July and August 2016, 68 members of the 908th participated in the first AFRC partnership building exercise with the Romanian Air Force to strengthen ties with the NATO partner.

908 AW History

The 908th Airlift Wing has airlifted everything from a battleship bell to the U.S. mail, from a bagpipe band to screw worm flies.

The 908th has survived relocations, mission changes, aircraft changes and even an aircraft crash back in the unit's C-119 transport days. These challenges, though they took their toll at the time, produced more than their share of success stories -- and, yes, even a hero or two.

Established as the 908th Troop Carrier Group at Bates Field, Mobile, Ala., on Feb. 11, 1963, the unit flew C-119 "Flying Boxcars," a two-engine transport aircraft that could fly as slowly as 85 mph.

In October 1964, the unit moved to Brookley Air Force Base, also in Mobile. There, the 908th built a substantial record of humanitarian airlifts, as well as taking care of regular cargo and mail missions to free Military Airlift Command aircraft committed to Southeast Asia.

On July 16, 1966, a 908th C-119 crashed near Jacksonville, Fla., after losing an engine in a fire. The four crewmen and all 30 Florida National Guard members on board bailed out safely, thanks to the pilot, Maj. Robert C. Coyle of Biloxi, Miss. Before ditching the aircraft, Major Coyle saw to it that every passenger and his three crewmen had jumped. For his heroism, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Florida Cross.

In February 1969, another move was announced. The 908th would move to Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Ala., the following spring and fly the small, twin-engine U-3H, a forward control aircraft. The 800-member unit dropped down to a mere 275 people. However, another change was planned: to switch from the U-3H to the O-2A, another twin-engine forward air control aircraft.

A year after the March 1970 conversion to O-2As, word arrived that the unit would convert to A-37 jets. Amidst plans for receiving the jets, there was yet another change: the 908th would return to the airlift business flying the C-7A Caribou, a twin-engine utility transport. In December 1971, the 908th was renamed a tactical airlift group, and the first "Bou" came on board in March 1972.

As though making up for lost time, the 908th declared itself combat ready in February 1973 - the first C-7 unit in the Reserve to achieve that status. A golden period for the unit was in full swing. In its nearly 10 years in the C-7, the 908th won three Air Force Outstanding Unit Awards and dozens of other unit and individual honors. Most important, however, was the unit's outstanding safety record. To date, the unit has accumulated more than 133,000 accident-free flying hours at Maxwell.

In October 1983, the 908th converted to C-130E Hercules aircraft. In less than three years, the unit received the brand-new C-130H, beginning in June 1986. The busy learning period in the new aircraft culminated in May 1987 at the international Airlift Rodeo competition at Pope Air Force Base, N.C., where the 908th placed as first overall C-130 unit in the world, and fourth place overall among all aircraft competing. This winning tradition has continued in recent years with 908th people and units bringing home many top honors.

Within two days of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, 26 908th Security Forces Squadron members were called to active duty primarily augmenting the security forces at Maxwell and Gunter in their heightened security efforts. On Nov. 8, 52 908th SFS personnel joined the legions of reservists and Guard members called to active duty in support of the homeland defense effort, Operation Noble Eagle.

Since the events of Sept. 11, 2001, 908 AW reservists have participated in the nation's Global War on Terror, serving at stateside and overseas locations.

908th Airlift Wing, Air Force Reserve Command

401 W. Maxwell Blvd., Maxwell AFB, Ala. 36112-6501

(334) 953-6804


(Current as of December 2022)

908th Airlift Wing, Air Force Reserve Command
401 W. Maxwell Blvd., Maxwell AFB, Ala. 36112-6501
(334) 953-6804



(Current as of May 2016)