ACC leaders talk Creech future with RPA Airmen

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Air Force photograph by Airman 1st Class Haley Stevens

Chief Master Sgt. Frank Batten, the command chief of Air Combat Command, takes a photo with Airmen assigned to Creech Air Force Base, Nev., Jan. 10, 2019. Reaper Airmen have provided dominant, persistent attack and reconnaissance capabilities while working with other Air Force assets for missions such as Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, and Chief Master Sgt. Frank Batten, command chief of ACC, visited Creech Air Force Base, Nev., to speak with Remotely Piloted Aircraft Airmen about the future of their enterprise, Jan. 10, 2019.

Holmes previously visited Team Creech in 2018 to get to know RPA Airmen and returned this year to establish his priorities as Creech becomes its own installation in 2019.

“The future of Creech is promising,” Holmes said. “We’ve made the decision to give them base operating authority. We’ll make the commander here, of the 432nd (Wing), also in charge of the base. Then we’re looking at the long term of how we take care of the Airmen out here… and make this a more sustainable lifestyle for Airmen and their families.”

During their visit, the ACC team answered questions that Creech aircraft maintainers asked about their future in the fight, and talked with aircrew about the challenge of serving a 24/7/365 combat mission without recuperation time away from combat operations.

Gen. Mike Holmes, the commander of Air Combat Command, talks with Creech Airmen about their efforts to advance ACC priorities at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., Jan. 10, 2019. Holmes’ visit consisted of a tour of the base and its operations, and meeting the Airmen behind the remotely piloted aircraft mission.

“It’s always great for our Airmen to get the chance to talk with some of their senior leadership,” said Chief Master Sgt. Jamie Newman, 432nd WG/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing command chief. “It’s an opportunity for them to hear first-hand how they fit into the bigger picture, but it also allows those leaders to see what life looks like for the Airmen here at Creech.”

During an enlisted call, Batten emphasized the importance of taking care of fellow wingmen so they can take care of the mission, per the ACC motto of “people first, mission always.”

MQ-9 Airmen are responsible for providing dominant, persistent attack and reconnaissance capabilities while working with other Air Force assets in the war on terrorism for missions such as Operation Inherent Resolve and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Holmes discussed the MQ-9’s effectiveness in modern warfare, and he emphasized MQ-9 aircrews’ ability to integrate with conventional platforms as well as provide critical close air support.

Chief Master Sgt. Frank Batten, the command chief of Air Combat Command, recognizes some of the 432nd Wing’s top performers at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., Jan. 10, 2019. Creech Airmen were able to share the unique challenges they face serving at a base with a 24/7/365 combat mission.

“They’re going out and doing the same mission as the A-10, the F-15 or the F-16 would do and they’re also learning to operate together as two-ships,” Holmes said. “There are a lot of exciting things, and we’re going to learn how to maximize the capability of the airplane by trying new tactics.”

Holmes is also ensuring the 432nd WG is prepared for installation command.

While touring a number of locations around Creech, base leadership shared plans for future quality of life and operational developments.

Gen. Mike Holmes, the commander of Air Combat Command, recognizes outstanding Airmen at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., Jan. 10, 2019. The men and women at Creech provide dominant, persistent attack and reconnaissance capabilities while working with other Air Force assets in today’s combat environment.

“Your nation depends on you to keep us safe and we know that you work hard every day and every night to do that. You endure it in some special ways with the separation of being at Creech, or with the deployments overseas to operate the launch and recovery elements,” Holmes said. “I just want to tell you I’m proud of you and I appreciate you doing it. I think 2019 will be a big year for the 432nd Wing and I want to wish everybody a happy New Year.”

Senior Air Force leaders like Gen. Holmes have helped develop the dedicated members of Team Creech and invest resources into base improvements. This enables the advancement of the RPA enterprise while shaping the future of air power.
 

Chief Master Sgt. Frank Batten, the command chief of Air Combat Command, speaks with enlisted Airmen at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., Jan. 10, 2019. Creech Airmen were able to share the unique challenges they face serving at a base with a 24/7/365 combat mission.

 

Gen. Mike Holmes, the commander of Air Combat Command, and Chief Master Sgt. Frank Batten, the ACC command chief, pose with base leadership under an MQ-1 Predator at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., Jan. 10, 2019. While talking with base Airmen, Holmes emphasized how integral remotely piloted aircraft are in supporting overseas areas of responsibility.

 

An Airman asks Chief Master Sgt. Frank Batten, the command chief of Air Combat Command, a question during an enlisted call at Creech Air Force Base, Nev., Jan. 10, 2019. During the call, Batten explained the importance of looking out for fellow wingmen and taking care of each other and how that directly ties into how the mission is able to be executed per the ACC motto “people first, mission always.”