The host wing is the 437th Airlift Wing (437 AW), which includes four airlift squadrons, an operations group, a maintenance directorate, a mission support group, and a medical group. It is augmented by a parallel, collocated Air Force Reserve Command organization, the 315th Airlift Wing (315 AW), which shares aircraft with the 437 AW.
Charleston's mission is to fly C-17s and provide airlift of troops and passengers, military equipment, cargo, and aeromedical equipment and supplies.
In 1946, the airfield changed to solely civilian use. In 1952, the city of Charleston and the Air Force agreed to joint-use of the runways. The Tactical Air Command re-established military operation at the base in 1952 and on 1 Mar 1956 control of the base was transferred to the Military Air Transport Service (MATS). In 1966, MATS became the Military Airlift Command (MAC) and Charleston AFB remained a MAC base until MAC's inactivation in October 1991, when control was transferred to the newly-established Air Mobility Command (AMC).
The base has operated various strategic airlift aircraft since the 1950s, to include the C-124 Globemaster, C-5 Galaxy and the C-141 Starlifter. Today, the 437 AW and 315 AW (Associate) operate the C-17 Globemaster III. The base has also maintained an alert site for fighter-interceptor aircraft of the Aerospace Defense Command (ADC), Tactical Air Command (TAC) and Air Combat Command]] (ACC) conducting the continental air defense mission. The last unit to occupy the alert site was a detachment F-16 aircraft from the 158th Fighter Wing of the Vermont Air National Guard. Detachment operations officially ended at the end of FY99, with the facility placed in caretaker status. However, since 11 Sep 2001, the facility has seen intermittent operations by various USAF fighter aircraft of the Active and Reserve Components.