MQ-9 Airmen host open house, celebrate 50th ATKS activation

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kathryn R.C. Reaves
  • Airman 1st Class Kathryn R.C. Reaves
MQ-9 Reaper aircrew members hosted an open house Feb. 22 in anticipation of the 50th Attack Squadron activation at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina, Feb. 27.

The open house provided Team Shaw Airmen the opportunity to learn about Reapers as well as the 432nd Operations Group Det. 1 mission, before it’s conversion to the 50th ATKS, through conversations with aircrew members, a walkthrough of the facilities and interactions with an MQ-9 flight simulator.

Senior Airman Daniel Caraglio, 20th Medical Operations Squadron mental health technician and event attendee, said he thinks having the MQ-9 mission at Shaw is awesome and he enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about the mission and career field at the open house.

For many individuals at Shaw, the open house served as an introduction to the capabilities of MQ-9 aircraft and aircrew.

“I think (the open house is) a good way to show people that we’re here and what we do,” said 1st Lt. Joshua, then 432nd OG Det. 1 MQ-9 pilot. “The remotely piloted aircraft mission is new to South Carolina in general and it’s new to the base. … This is the new technology in the Air Force, so it’s the best way to tell people.”

Airmen assigned to the Reaper group also presented information to the base populace regarding the activation of the 432nd Operations Group’s 50th Attack Squadron scheduled for the following week.

Originally activated in August 1917 as the 50th Aero Squadron and last inactivated in 2005, the 50th ATKS has operated for almost 90 years in locations such as England, France, Guam, Okinawa and the United States.

Following the activation, Col. Joseph, 432nd OG commander, appointed Lt. Col. David, former 432nd OG Det. 1 commander, as commander of the 50th ATKS.

The new activation may have given the MQ-9 Airmen a new group to identify with, but their mission to achieve combatant commanders’ objectives by executing dominant persistent attack and reconnaissance has not changed.

“We’re making history not just in activating a squadron, but by actually being listened to and taking action, so I’m extremely proud about that,” said David, referencing the Culture and Process Improvement Program. “It’s a long road, but I know we can do it. Take a moment, but know this is just the beginning. I’m humbled to be here and be your new commander. Let’s do this.”