Charleston Reserve Squadrons get unique call signs
By Michael Dukes, 315th Airlift Wing Public Affairs / Published May 03, 2016
An aircrew from the 300th Airlift Squadron sport their flight suit morale tabs in front of their C-17 Globemaster III before performing the squadron's first flight using their newly approved call sign Primus. Bronze, Prime, and Turtle – these are the new call signs now used by Reserve aircrews assigned to the 315th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina. (U.S. Air Force photo by Michael Dukes)
JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Bronze, Prime, and Turtle – these are the new call signs now used by Reserve aircrews assigned to the 315th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina.
Operations officers from the 300th, 317th and 701st Airlift Squadrons agree that having unique call signs adds to unit pride and morale.
“The Turtles have always had a very big esprit de corps, and with our long history it was natural that our call sign reflect our heritage,” said Lt. Col. Keith Moore, 701st Airlift Squadron operations officer. The 701st AS was the first of the 315 AW’s flying squadrons to make the move from Grits.
Moore said the call sign change started with their previous squadron commander Col. Tom McNamara in early 2015 and the Turtles started using their new call sign June 2015.
“Our call sign, Bronze, refers to our unofficial motto of ‘Go for the bronze,’” said Lt. Col. Mark Pool, 300th AS operations officer. “We perform like a gold medalist, but are happy with the bronze. We like to keep things low key.”
Air Force Reserve Command approved the new 300th AS call earlier this year.
Lt. Col. Rick Davis, 317th AS operations officer, said his squadron is very proud of its new call sign Prime.
The first Prime aircrew made a big to do for their first flight under the new call sign on April 19. Members of the 317th AS were so enthusiastic about their new call sign that they wanted to go the extra mile to show their pride. The squadron had Prime t-shirts and morale tab patches made.
“During A-phase, our senior staff weeded through the suggestions our squadron came up with,” Davis said.
“Our motto is ‘First in reserve,’” Davis added. “Our call sign comes from the word primus in Latin which means first.” And it’s no coincidence that, like their motto and call sign, the 317th AS was the “first” squadron to operate the C-17 back in the early 1990s and the first to fight and activate in the Global War on Terrorism.
Prior to about a year ago all three of the Joint Base Charleston Reserve flying squadrons usually used the wing call sign Grits when flying within the United States. When flying outside the country they go by Reach.
When performing airdrops they use Moose. The C-17 is sometimes called the moose because when it is fueled on the ground it makes what some Airmen call a bellowing sound like a moose as the fuel tanks are vented.