732nd OSS activates, sets RPA group up for success

By Senior Airman Christian Clausen 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

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The 732nd Operations Support Squadron activated under the 732nd Operations Group at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, Jan. 23, 2019.

The new unit, dubbed the “Archers,” will provide the support required for the MQ-9 Reaper attack squadrons within the 732nd OG to seamlessly execute their persistent attack and reconnaissance missions.

“As an OSS, as described in the title, the unit supports the operational squadrons by taking care of administrative tasks,” said Lt. Col. Robert, 732nd OSS deputy of operations. “Now, the squadrons can fight the good fight without needing to worry about the additional tasks that have to be taken care of.”

These tasks include utilizing intelligence, weapons and tactics and planning offices to ensure current operations, training and logistical preparation for future operations.  

“The new OSS will open lines of communication; sharing tactics, techniques and procedures and disseminating them so others can learn from our innovative skillset,” said Lt. Col. Hector, 732nd OSS commander. “The OSS will [also] document the group’s best practices, whether they are combat, intelligence, weather, or infrastructure related. The unit will communicate them appropriately throughout the RPA enterprise to further enable combat effectiveness and resiliency.”

One such current assignment is preparing the reactivation of the 18th Attack Squadron which will enable the 732nd OG to execute a four to one dwell cycle across the other squadrons.

“Every sortie is for persistent attack and reconnaissance but we never have the chance to take a breath and reconstitute,” Robert said. “When we open the 18th, we’re going to do things like train, complete upgrade qualification and complete military education while on a normal schedule in a status of dwell.”

Dwell refers to deployment cycles where a unit will deploy downrange to fight the mission for a given period of time and during their home station time will ensure their personnel can rest and complete any individual or unit requirements while preparing for the next fight.

However, in the Remotely Piloted Aircraft community, Airmen execute the mission from a stateside location. This, combined with an insatiable demand, has kept RPA crews in combat for extended periods of time with no rest cycle.

“The activation of the 732nd OSS, and eventual establishment of the 18th ATKS, is part of a larger Air Force initiative to fully resource and enable the squadrons of the 432nd Wing,” said Col. Travis, 25th Attack Group commander. “An effort that will, ultimately, enable dwell for the first time across the RPA enterprise.”

While dwell provides an immediate improvement to the quality of life across the Wing, it is also critical to ensuring RPA crews are able to build combat readiness through extensive training opportunities previous unavailable to 432nd Wing aircrew.

With the framework for a brand new organization in place the 732nd OSS will dedicate subject matter experts to pave the way for the attack squadrons within the 732nd OG.

According to Robert, this is represented in the unit’s patch, which shows a blue arrow leading the way through a red area representing the spreading of light. The Archers, like archers in many historic conflicts, will stay in the background drawing their bows to strike beyond the current battle to affect the future of it while giving their battlefield brothers and sisters an advantage.

“Overall we are showing that our Air Force and Air Combat Command care as they provide us the tools and the resources we need to do the mission,” Robert said.

Col. Julian Cheater, 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary commander, reinforced the significance of this milestone.

“There have been initiatives to standup the 732nd OSS since 2014, but we are seeing accelerated progress in the RPA community, and leaders like Lt. Col. Hector and Lt. Col. Robert are the perfect trailblazers to continue to build resiliency and redundancy into our base infrastructure as we approach dwell which will better prepare our 432nd Hunters for near-peer conflicts,” he said.