First attack squadron stands up at Creech AFB

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- The 42nd Attack Squadron, the Air Force's first attack squadron and first MQ-9 Reaper Squadron, stood up at Creech Air Force Bae, Nev., Nov. 9 at 9:42 a.m.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Greene assumed command of the squadron.

The Reaper is the next stage in unmanned-aerial-vehicle development. Similar to the evolution of aircraft in war, earlier UAVs were strictly reconnaissance, Colonel Greene said. "It didn't take long for the role of aircraft to move from simply watching enemy targets to killing enemy targets."

The Reaper is a larger, more powerful aircraft than its predecessor, the MQ-1 Predator, and it can carry 15 times the amount of ordinance. The Reaper is powered by a 900-horsepower turboprop engine and can carry four 500-pound, laser-guided bombs, as well as Hellfire missiles.

The Reaper can stay airborne for up to 40 hours, depending on how much ordinance its carrying.

"We can watch a certain area for days on end if we need to. It is just like a police stake-out. We are watching and waiting," said Colonel Greene.

The 42nd AS is the Air Force's first attack squadron, and because of the unique capabilities the Reaper affords the Air Force, officials are eager to take it into the fight.

The squadron has set forth an aggressive schedule to get the Reaper to do just that, supporting the Global War on Terrorism, said Colonel Greene.

"I'm going to push us hard - we're at war. Your nation needs you, your Air Force needs you, and I need you," he said to his troops at the ceremony. "And by this time next year, we will make our enemies truly understand what it means to fear the Reaper."

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