Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett visited Creech Air Force Base, Nev., for the first time Aug. 12, 2020.
The purpose of the visit was to familiarize herself with Air Force’s only dedicated Remotely Piloted Aircraft wing, and the 24/7 dominant, persistent attack and reconnaissance missions they support, Aug. 12, 2020.
As the home of the Hunters, the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing executes multi-role RPA operations, primarily through the employment of the MQ-9 Reaper, which is in flight every minute of every day as a critical component of the National Defense Strategy.
“From intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance to precision strikes, the Hunters at Creech Air Force Base play a critical role in projecting power globally,” said Barrett. “Combatant commanders consistently use the 432nd Wing’s remotely piloted aircraft to protect the U.S. and its interests around the world.”
While at Creech, Barrett visited Wing Headquarters, the 17th Attack Squadron, and the 30th Reconnaissance Squadron, interacting with Hunter Airmen along the way.
She also received thorough briefings on the comprehensive past, present and future of the RPA Enterprise, the current state of downrange developments, and the unique challenges Hunters overcome in order to stay fit to fight.
“Creech Air Force Base is one of a kind in its mission and purpose,” said Col. Stephen Jones, 432nd WG/432nd AEW commander. “Hunters bring cutting edge RPA technology to the fight to protect Americans and coalition forces throughout the world. We are proud of our war fighting abilities, but also the culture of inclusion and teamwork that makes us especially effective. It was an honor to host Secretary of the Air Force Barrett, and to share the mission and approach that makes us proud to be Hunters.”
In line with her priority of improving the Air Force’s racial inclusivity, and as the appointed leader of the DOD Board on Diversity and Inclusion, Barrett took time to host three discussions. One for the leaders of the heartbeat of the Air Force, one for young commissioned Airmen, and one for enlisted Airmen, each session geared toward identifying and discussing areas of improvement in Air Force regulations and practices.
One such session inspired a leader from the 732nd Operations Support Squadron, who shared her thoughts on the time spent with Barrett, talking about important issues ranging from representation within the ranks, to regimented change planned for the future of the Air Force.
“I think her visiting showed us that change is really starting to happen,” said Capt. Elise, combat intelligence center assistant flight commander with the 732nd Operations Support Squadron. “We need these changes, not only from the bottom-up, but top-to-bottom as well. Her being the highest-ranking individual in the Air force really shows that things are happening. It may not be in the immediate future, but it will happen.”
From the spark of innovation Creech AFB was founded on, to the latest steps to ensuring the United States Air Force is the greatest, most inclusive, force it can be — Creech AFB and the Hunters of the 432nd WG/432nd AEW are prepared and eager to keep bringing the future faster within the Department of Defense.