ACC leadership visit reflects past, forecasts future

By Senior Airman Lauren Silverthorne 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

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Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, and Chief Master Sgt. David Wade, Command Chief of ACC, visited Creech to speak with Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) leadership and Airmen about the future of their enterprise, Jan. 7, 2020.

First, Holmes and Wade discussed the progress of current and future developments to the infrastructure and missions of Creech Air Force Base with 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing leadership.

Conversations included continued pursuit for short and long-terms quality of life improvements. Among the discussed were various military construction projects, such as the fast-approaching opening of a new Force Support Building.

“We have to continue working to make this a place where you feel like your family can thrive, and not just survive,” Holmes said. “Ultimately, we have to offer a place where you’ll find meaning and purpose.”

Leadership also discussed advancements across the RPA Enterprise, with one such example of success being the stabilization of MQ-9 combat operations conducted from the 25th Attack Group.

“Long term, the Air Force is working on a design for the future, a design for an Air Force beyond 2030, and that design relies heavily on unmanned aircraft,” said Holmes. “The Hunters have an opportunity to have a big influence on [that plan] as we move forward.”

Airmen from the Persistent Attack and Reconnaissance Operations Center (PAROC), the 867th Attack Squadron (ATKS) and the 42nd ATKS had the opportunity to speak with Holmes about ongoing efforts to advance the MQ-9 mission and weapons system, and how they’ve impacted the past as well as future.

“The biggest thing the MQ-9 has changed in the world, and impact it’s had on our strategy, is let our enemies know there’s no safe place [for them] anywhere in the world,” Holmes said.

After meeting with several small groups of Airmen, Holmes and Wade held officer and enlisted all-calls. 

Wade thanked Airmen for their efforts in building the modern Air Force, crediting U.S. advantage over adversaries to “our human resources.” Holmes also thanked the Hunters for their vast accomplishments, promising their efforts have been noticed.

“I’ll continue to work to make the Air Force a place where you can find meaning and purpose in your life,” Holmes said to the room of junior officers. “The meaning and purpose I get is the opportunity to be around you and people like you.”

Holmes and Wade also took time during the visit to meet with seven select Hunter Airmen, of whom he presented coins for performance excellence, and to acknowledge their dedication and support of the 24/7/365 dominant, persistent attack and reconnaissance missions at Creech.

“It’s pretty good to see what I’m doing on a daily basis get recognized on a much higher level in the Air Force,” said Airman Jacob, crew chief for the 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and the youngest Airman to be coined. “It’s a blessing, and I hope I can teach others to do what they need to do to succeed.”

Visits from senior leaders such as Holmes and Wade enable Team 432 to effectively recognize the growth and accomplishments made over the course of past years.

“Over the last ten or twelve years, the 432nd Wing has been one of the primary links between the air domain and the ground domain,” Holmes said. "The close partnership you have with people on the ground, whether it’s close air support, working directly with a battalion commander to provide important ISR, or we’re working with a special operations team to collect pattern of life for a high value target.

“Right now, there’s nothing better at doing the mission that the MQ-9 does.”

From the youngest Airmen on base, to the wing commander, this visit was also a reminder for the endeavors to come, of which the Hunters are eager to meet. 

“Knowing we’re in lock-step with our MAJCOM’s vision for the future is everything,” said Col. Stephen Jones, 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing commander. “Having days like today reminds us where we started, shows us where we’re going, and also inspires our Airmen to tackle the next challenge.”