Brunswick – Over the last few months, I’ve heard some new (for me) callsigns being used by C-17s from the 437th/315th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Charleston and I’ve come to the conclusion that they’re squadron based callsigns. I began hearing TURTLE first, then EAGLE, and more recently PELICAN; these callsigns have also been showing up on Mode-S information for 437th/315th AW C-17s as well. PELICAN was initially confusing since the VP-45 P-8As from NAS Jacksonville also use the callsign; when I first saw it on Mode-S before I heard the C-17 on the radio, it confused me as to why a C-17 would be using VP-45’s callsign. Looking at the logos and nicknames for the squadrons comprising those two wings, it’s pretty simple to make some connections.
The 14th Airlift Squadron logo features a pelican and their nickname is “The Pelicans,” so it makes sense after all for a 14th AS C-17 to use the callsign PELICAN. The 15th Airlift Squadron features an eagle and one of their nicknames is “Global Eagles,” so that would explain who the C-17s using EAGLE ## are. The 701st Airlift Squadron features a turtle and their nickname is “the Turtles,” so that would indicate that TURTLE ## C-17s from Charleston are 701st AS flights. Based on this information, the squadron callsigns for 437th/315th Airlift Wing C-17s are:
- 14th Airlift Squadron, 437th Airlift Wing – PELICAN
- 15th Airlift Squadron, 437th Airlift Wing – EAGLE
- 701st Airlift Squadron, 315th Airlift Wing – TURTLE
I’ll be interested to hear if any of the other squadrons at Charleston begin using squadron specific callsigns. If you catch any C-17s from Joint Base Charleston that are using a callsign that could be squadron related or have any further information, let me know in the comments below or email me at kf4lmt @ gmail.