Hunters welcome 15th AF leaders for inaugural visit

By Airman 1st Class William Rio Rosado 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

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The Fifteenth Air Force command team visited here Jan. 5, 2021, for their first immersion since the wing was re-aligned under 15th AF in August of 2020.

Maj. Gen. Chad P. Franks, Fifteenth Air Force commander, joined by Chief Master Sgt. Benjamin W. Hedden, Fifteenth Air Force command chief, toured Creech AFB to learn more about the quality of life for the installation’s Airmen, as well as the advancements in the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing’s mission.

“The Hunters’ dedication to each other, and their mission is like no other,” Franks said. “From their beginnings as an auxiliary unit to now, they have proven their dedication to innovation and growth. I have confidence they will continue to lead the way as the Fifteenth AF builds its vision for the future of the Remotely Piloted Aircraft enterprise.”

The team began their immersive visit at Creech’s air traffic control tower, overlooking the entire base to give a broad view of the installation layout, and to discuss the unique nature of the base as well as ongoing projects, and key infrastructure critical to mission sustainment.

After seeing Hunters’ daily operations from above, the next stop was the Persistent Attack and Reconnaissance Center, a tenant unit under the direct command of the NAF, for a closer look at the synchronization and management, of MQ-9 operations.

The visit continued for Franks by diving deeper into Mission Control Element side of combat operations at the 30th Reconnaissance Squadron, while Hedden observed the connectivity and maintenance of the mission by visiting the 432nd Aircraft Communications Squadron, soon followed by a distanced meet-and-greet.

“I always look forward to visiting Airmen on the flight line,” Hedden said. “As a prior maintainer, it keeps me humble and reminds me where I came from.”

Franks and Hedden reconnected for a mission update in the 867th Attack Squadron, before rallying with the wing’s group commanders for an overall quality of life update, as well as a synopsis of the wing’s pursuit for optimized training and equipping of the force for the future fight.

The conversations touched on several subjects, such as the MQ-9 Reaper’s Automatic Takeoff and Landing Capability (ATLC) testing successes, and future implementation as well as the 25th Attack Group’s strides toward Reconstitution.  Reconstitution is an opportunity for combat squadrons to take a temporary pause in their 24/7 missions and focus on garrison unit functions such as advanced training and certification, before resuming round-the-clock combat RPA operations, potentially  in a new geographical area of responsibility.

This was the first of many visits for the historic NAF, and leaders and Airmen from across the wing had the opportunity to share their work with Fifteenth Air Force leadership.

“We were honored to host the 15th AF leadership team,” said Col. Stephen Jones, 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing commander. “The visit gave us an opportunity to showcase the daily global impact our wing has on national security. Plus, our Airmen demonstrated their ability to adapt to the challenges of COVID-19 while executing the mission with continued excellence and precision.”