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.
“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.
“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.
“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.