Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of Air Combat Command, and ACC Command Chief Master Sgt. David Wade, visited Creech Air Force Base, Nev., March 8, 2021, to discuss the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Enterprise’s mission and infrastructure with 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing leadership.
Since Kelly’s visit in October, the 432nd AEW has begun flying MQ-9 Reaper sorties out of Romania, successfully deployed and redeployed RQ-170 Sentinel forces, and broke ground on the 25th Attack Group’s forthcoming headquarters and operations building at Shaw AFB, South Carolina.
The innovation of Hunter Airmen is driving the RPA Enterprise to expanded combat capabilities. 432nd Wing Leadership laid out plans for continued evolution, to include enhancing Agile Combat Employment and Immediate Response Force capabilities for MQ-9 Reapers.
“RPAs are meeting the needs of Combatant Commanders today — in both contested and non-contested environments,” said Col. Stephen Jones, 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing commander. “The wide array of mission sets the MQ-9 and RQ-170 are asked to perform remains our hallmark — we do not shy away from these tough tasks; we remain ready to take them on in all environments.”
The latest updates to infrastructure across the 432nd Wing enable the enterprise’s continued success. In addition to the ground-breaking for the 25th ATKG, the 432nd Wing is nearing 50 percent completion of the 732nd Operations Group’s operations campus. While at Creech, Kelly surveyed the construction site to learn how the campus will propel 432nd Wing capabilities.
“Base infrastructure is a critical enabler to the RPA enterprise; it is a key component of the weapons system,” Jones said. “We have immense pride in our communications experts, power production professionals, and civil engineers – they keep this mission running.”
The most critical component to the weapons system, the Airmen, have been sustained throughout COVID-19 thanks to the medical professionals of the 99th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron. Wade visited the Creech Medical Clinic to meet those responsible for sustaining the heartbeat of the 432nd Wing.
“The human weapons system is the most important weapon system we have,” Wade said. “There’s nothing more important than taking care of our fellow Airmen, so thank you for what you do.”
Without the Airmen, leaders and partners of the 432nd Wing and greater RPA Enterprise, none of the achievements of the past six months would have been possible.
“The Airmen of the 432nd Wing are keenly aware of the real-world threats facing our Nation and partners,” Kelly said. “Hence the multi-layered, assertive action they take each day to remain the Air Force’s premier RPA fighting force. The advancements of this Wing, the capability of its leaders, and the ambition of its Airmen are a reminder of what it takes for our Air Force to remain ahead of the enemy.”