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ACC leadership visit reflects past, forecasts future

Air Combat Command leadership stand with 432nd Wing Leadership for a group photo under an MQ-1 Predator.

Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, Maj. General Kevin Huyck, Air Combat Command Director of Operations, and Chief Master Sgt. David Wade, Command Chief of Air Combat Command, pose for a photo with 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing leadership at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, Jan. 7, 2020. During their visit, ACC leadership visited the Persistent Attack and Reconnaissance Operations Center (PAROC), the 867th Attack Squadron (ATKS) and the 42nd ATKS. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class William Rosado)

General Mike Holmes, Commander of Air Combat Command, shakes hands with an Airmen who has excelled within his squadron.

Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, coins Airman Jacob, crew chief for the 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, for his excellent performance in support of the 24/7/365 mission at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, Jan. 7, 2020. Jacob was the youngest and most junior Airman to be coined as one of the Airmen who ensure the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing provide dominant, persistent attack and reconnaissance capabilities in today’s combat environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class William Rosado)

Chief Master Sergeant David Wade, Command Chief of Air Combat Command, speaks with Airmen in an all-call at Creech Air Force Base.

Chief Master Sgt. David Wade, Command Chief of Air Combat Command, hosts an all call for enlisted personnel at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, Jan. 7, 2020. Enlisted members of all ranks listened as Wade shared his experiences and thoughts and were later able to ask questions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class William Rosado)

Airmen laugh in a crowd at an all-call.

Team 432 Airmen laugh at an all-call hosted by Chief Master Sgt. David Wade, Command Chief of Air Combat Command, at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, Jan. 7, 2020. Gen. Mike Holmes, Commander of Air Combat Command, toured the base Wade, and met the Airmen who directly support the Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) 24/7 combat mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class William Rosado)

General Mike Holmes speaks to a crowd at Creech Air Force Base.

Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, addresses officers during an all call at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, Jan. 7, 2020. Holmes touched on several subjects from leadership to the future of the Remotely Piloted Aircraft enterprise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class William Rosado)

A lieutenant speaks with General Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, during a visit.

Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, meets one-on-one with 1st Lt. Alberto at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, Jan. 7, 2020. Alberto caught Holmes’ attention by asking hard-hitting questions during a recent Facebook Live all-call. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Haley Stevens)

CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. --

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.”

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