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SecAF gets firsthand look at MQ-1, MQ-9 mission

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson shares a laugh with members of the 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, July 19, 2017, at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. During her visit, Wilson toured the base and gained insight into the dominant persistent attack and reconnaissance mission the Airmen of the 432nd WG complete 24/7/365 for our nation and coalition partners. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christian Clausen)

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson shares a laugh with members of the 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, July 19, 2017, at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. During her visit, Wilson toured the base and gained insight into the dominant persistent attack and reconnaissance mission the Airmen of the 432nd WG complete 24/7/365 for our nation and coalition partners. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christian Clausen)

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson is briefed on the Multi-Spectral Targeting system by Staff Sgt. Evan, 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron avionics craftsman July 19, 2017, at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. During her visit, Wilson was briefed on the specifics on the current MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper fleet as the missions they enable for the joint force commanders. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christian Clausen)

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson is briefed on the Multi-Spectral Targeting system by Staff Sgt. Evan, 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron avionics craftsman July 19, 2017, at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. During her visit, Wilson was briefed on the specifics on the current MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper fleet as the missions they enable for the joint force commanders. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christian Clausen)

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson is briefed on the Block 5 MQ-9 Reaper by Staff Sgt. Stephen, 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, July 19, 2017, at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. Wilson was able to interact with members of the 432nd Wing and learn about their mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christian Clausen)

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson is briefed on the Block 5 MQ-9 Reaper by Staff Sgt. Stephen, 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, July 19, 2017, at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. Wilson was able to interact with members of the 432nd Wing and learn about their mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christian Clausen)

CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. (AFNS) --

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson visited Creech Air Force Base July 19, 2017, to get a closer look at the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper mission.

During her visit, Wilson toured the base and gained insight into the dominant persistent attack and reconnaissance mission the Airmen of the 432nd Wing complete 24-7-365 for our nation and coalition partners.

“The Secretary of Defense has given us a task to focus on improving the lethality and readiness of the force to do the missions the nation expects of us, and anybody who wants to see what that looks like should come to Creech AFB,” Wilson said. “These Airmen are incredible warriors who get up every day and think about how to keep our country and our families safe, and we’re deeply grateful for it.”

While the remotely piloted aircraft enterprise has proven themselves in combat, it hasn’t been without strain on the relatively small community of Airmen who provide the most requested assets downrange.

“The RPA community is punching above its weight and we all know that,” Wilson said. “So we’ve done a couple of things [to help that] and I’m personally committed to the get-well plan for the RPA community.”

The secretary said the number of combat lines provided by the Air Force won’t increase until the RPA community has reasonable dwell time, can complete professional military education and has the ability to maintain a healthy balance between the mission and their lives.

Wilson also had a chance to speak with Airmen who have contributed their inventions to the mission in order to improve the force.

Master Sgt. Eric, 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron production superintendent, briefed Wilson on an engine trainer he created in his spare time to fill a training need within the squadron. He said it was a unique opportunity to show her his creation.

“This community is innovating faster than almost any other part of the Air Force and we should be proud of that and enable it,” Wilson said. “I’ve been very impressed with what I’ve seen.”

 

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