No place to hide: CSAF lauds combat RPA innovation

By Senior Airman James Thompson 432nd WG/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

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Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein visited Creech and met with 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Airmen, Jan. 15, 2019.

Throughout his visit, Goldfein toured the base, received an update of current MQ-9 Reaper operations, and met with Airmen who support the MQ-9 mission.

Tasked with supporting 24/7/365 combat operations, 432nd WG/432nd AEW Airmen fly the Reaper for combatant commanders and coalition forces across multiple areas of responsibility.

“Every day Airmen in this wing from maintenance, to sensor operators, to pilots, to mission intelligence coordinators: to all the folks – the thousand Airmen who have their fingerprints on every aircraft, every sortie that takes off, to every line that we fly, are bringing new innovative ideas to how we do this business,” Goldfein said. “It represents some of the most flexible operations that we have in our inventory.”

The mission requires not only professional aircrew, but dedicated maintenance and support Airmen. Goldfein recognized several individuals for their outstanding performance and contributions to the wing’s mission.

“I’m shocked and humbled… I’ve only been in for 1 1/2 years and I’m already being recognized for something that I’ve done,” said Airman 1st Class Christian, 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons load crew member and coin recipient. “It makes me want to keep going and become a better person.”

This was Goldfein’s second time visiting the base in 12 months and he praised the 432nd WG’s forward momentum. He had the opportunity to visit the 22nd Attack Squadron and the 30th Reconnaissance Squadron where he met with aircrew.

“This is a weapons system and community that was born out of innovation,” Goldfein said. “We needed to build an enterprise to better understand the adversary and keep their heads down so they could never put together a complex attack. The Airmen here are delivering combat capabilities every single day.”

To conclude his trip, the 432nd AMXS Airmen loaded an AGM-114 Hellfire missile and a GBU-54 Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition on an MQ-9 to demonstrate what it takes to prepare the aircraft for combat.

Goldfein later spoke with the weapons crew about what they do and their role in the larger Remotely Piloted Aircraft picture.

“In this business, every Airman matters, and when an aircraft takes off anywhere on the planet the fingerprints of our Airmen are on it,” said Goldfein.  “It takes the entire team coming together to make it happen.”

Before departing, Goldfein gave final remarks and held a brief meet-and-greet with Creech Airmen.

“This is a community that understands all-domain operations and the multi-domain aspects of command and control, perhaps as well as anybody in the Air Force,” Goldfein said. “It’s the nature of the business every day.”

As the men and women of the 432nd WG/432nd AEW continue to satisfy real-time support to the battlefield, the demand for their ability to provide dominant persistent attack and reconnaissance anytime, anyplace grows.

“The innovation we bring is changing daily and that’s Airmen from this wing,” Goldfein said. “They’re finding new ways of doing business, so we stay ahead of the adversary, and they have no place to hide.”