Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein toured Creech for an in-depth look at the Remotely Piloted Aircraft enterprise and the many Airmen who work around the clock to assure mission success Jan. 9, 2018.
As a former MQ-9 Reaper pilot, Goldfein has previous experience within the RPA community. However, on this visit, he had the opportunity to tour the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing and base operations.
Goldfein made a stop at several squadrons whose mission has evolved in recent years such as the 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, the 15th Attack Squadron and the 30th Reconnaissance Squadron to further his understanding of the RPA mission and the men and women who support it.
“The CSAF’s visit to the 432nd WG is incredibly important to the Airmen who live and work here,” said Col. David Bissonnette, 432nd WG/432nd AEW vice commander. “It reinforces his already keen perception of what it means and what life is like to provide combat power to combatant commanders 24/7/365. This is vital as he goes to Congress looking for the resources we need in order to execute our mission.”
Goldfein addressed team Creech during an all call where he emphasized mission readiness as a priority and later acknowledged the many achievements made by Hunter Airmen.
In 2017 alone, MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper aircrews helped liberate multiple cities from ISIS control by flying more than 12,000 combat sorties totaling approximately 216,000 flight hours.
“There’s actually no wing like the 432nd anywhere in the Air Force,” Goldfein said. “As we continue to prosecute the fight against violent extremists and as we continue to produce intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance for the joint force, this wing is absolutely essential to that.”
Goldfein stressed the importance RPA combat support played in helping a Coalition of 70 nations free more than 7.7 million people from oppression and liberate more than 41,000 square miles from ISIS control.
He also expanded upon the future plans for RPA enterprise and announced Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina as the preferred location to enhance the RPA enterprise in the ways identified in feedback solicited from the field as part of the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper Culture and Process Improvement Program.
This decision was officially announced Jan. 10 and helps diversify assignment opportunities for personnel within the MQ-9 Reaper enterprise.
“RPAs and associated intelligence operations are and will remain a vital component for the national security of the United States and our allies,” Goldfein said. “Providing additional RPA basing locations can provide greater development and quality of life opportunities so we can provide combatant commanders with the best trained operators to perform this critical mission.”
During his visit, he took time to recognize a few Airmen for their superior performance and dedication to delivering dominant persistent attack and reconnaissance for the ensured safety of the nation and its partners.
“It was an honor to be recognized by the CSAF,” said Airman 1st Class Marty, 15th Attack Squadron aviation resource manager. “I really appreciate that we got the chance to show Gen. Goldfein part of what we do here at the squadron.”
Goldfein left RPA aircrews, maintainers, intelligence analysts, weather specialists and other support Airmen who call the 432nd WG home with one last message concerning his admiration for their continued involvement in operations downrange.
“Our ability to fight and win is dependent to a large extent on how we sense the globe and then turn that sensing into decision quality information,” Goldfein said. “So much of that is done by the Airmen right here in the 432nd (WG). I couldn’t be prouder of the men and women who take the fight to the enemy every day.”