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January 23, 2019
 

Creech Showcases RPA enterprise to AFCENT leadership

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Senior Airman Christian Clausen
Creech AFB, Nev.

Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, U.S. Air Forces Central Command commander, speaks with a top performer’s supervisor at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., Jan. 16, 2019. Guastella coined several 432nd Wing/432nd Expeditionary Wing and 799th Air Base Group outstanding Airmen who deliver persistent attack and reconnaissance against the nation’s enemies.

Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, U.S. Air Forces Central Command commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Shawn Drinkard, AFCENT command chief, visited Creech Air Force Base, Nev., Jan. 16, 2019.

Guastella and Drinkard visited different operational flying squadrons on base and the Persistent Attack and Reconnaissance Operations Center to get a hands-on look at how combat Remotely Piloted Aircraft missions are executed while also interacting with the Airmen who support them. Drinkard experienced what it’s like to fly a MQ-9 Reaper in a simulated environment, learning from experienced Airmen how they execute missions.

“My perception of the 432nd Wing is that these Airmen are some of the most world-class warfighters on the planet,” Drinkard said. “They’re world class because they’re well led, well trained and resilient. They can be all of those things because they’re empowered. The young force is leveraging that empowerment to make a difference, be more lethal and ready every single day.”

An aviation resource manager with the 78th Attack Squadron, shows the coin she received from Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, U.S. Air Forces Central Command commander, at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., Jan. 16, 2019. Guastella coined several 432nd Wing/432nd Expeditionary Wing and 799th Air Base Group outstanding Airmen.

The 432nd Wing ‘Hunters’ support missions in AFCENT’s area of responsibility 24/7/365, flying more than half of the Air Force’s 60 Reaper combat lines. Since January of 2018, RPA Airmen have delivered more than 1,500 strikes in support of the operations.

“The entire Reaper and RPA enterprise is invaluable to me as the AFCENT commander,” Guastella said. “You guys provide persistent over-watch of every aspect of our operations across the U.S. Central Command AOR.”

He went on to explain how the ‘Hunters’ provide the longest endurance and precise kinetic capabilities that are valued by terrestrial land-based warfighters and leadership.

Chief Master Sgt. Shawn Drinkard, U.S. Air Forces Central Command command chief, pilots a simulated Reaper in a flight simulator, at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., Jan. 16, 2019. These simulators ensure Reaper pilots and sensor operators remain current with flight training and utilize skills in realistic combat situations.

During his talks with Airmen, Guastella lauded their efforts in consistently evolving the Reaper and its capabilities to better support ground and coalition forces.

“Chief Drinkard and I saw this all through today’s visit, where the Airmen here are innovating every single step of the way and what they’ve done with the community over the last 10 to 15 years has been incredible,” Guastella said. “Without a doubt, continuing to build on the success of our RPA enterprise is the way of the future.” This tour also marked Guastella’s first trip to Creech, which in his words, was an honor.
 
“It’s a privilege for Chief and I to come to Creech,” Guastella said. “This is an incredible team of Airmen who are in the fight, right there with us, anytime we’re in the action in the Middle East. They’re always available, doing the mission every single day, and our service members on the ground, and in the Combined Air Operations Center with me, are very appreciative of the 432nd Wing.”
 

Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, U.S. Air Forces Central Command commander, speaks with a top performer at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., Jan. 16, 2019. Guastella coined several 432nd Wing/432nd Expeditionary Wing and 799th Air Base Group outstanding Airmen.

 

Chief Master Sgt. Shawn Drinkard, U.S. Air Forces Central Command command chief, addresses Airmen of the Remotely Piloted Aircraft enterprise, at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., Jan. 16, 2019. Drinkard visited with the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing and 799th Air Base Group Airmen who deliver persistent attack and reconnaissance 24/7/365 against the nation’s enemies.




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