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Nevada ANG unit celebrates 10 years of RPA operations

The 232nd OS activated in 2007 and provides training on techniques and procedures associated with new innovations for the Remotely Piloted Aircraft community.

Airmen with the 232nd Operations Squadron pose for a photo May 16, 2014, at Creech Air Force Base, Nev. The 232nd OS activated in 2007 and provides training on techniques and procedures associated with new innovations for the Remotely Piloted Aircraft community. (Courtesy photo)

CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. --

The 232nd Operations Squadron celebrated its 10th year anniversary as an associate unit integrated with the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center and the 432nd Wing at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada.

In the decade since its activation, the squadron's Airmen have acted as remotely piloted aircraft maintainers, sensor operators, pilots and intelligence specialists.

“The 232 OS is a classic associate, total force, squadron of the Nevada Air National Guard,” said Lt Col. Nick, 232 OS commander. “We provide manpower, specifically subject matter experts, who contribute to the MQ-9 combat enterprise in all aspects.”

 

Following its activation in 2007, the 232 OS has seen an increase in the amount of support needed for overseas contingency operations. The squadron’s efforts broke records with a total of 55,666 man-days worked in support of deployed theater operations. Of those, 40,727 days were operations conducted from the 232nd OS and the Reno-based 152nd Intelligence Squadron.


“We used to have our Airmen spread across 18 different squadrons between Creech and Nellis, but have since focused our efforts in operational test and evaluation under the USAFWC [United States Air Force Warfare Center],” said Nick.

The experience of 232nd OS Airmen as instructors, evaluators and supervisors during launch and recovery operations has proved vital to the squadron which has deployed to multiple overseas locations operating both the MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper.

“The 232 OS primarily supports the MQ-9 operational test and evaluation mission at the 556 Test and Evaluations Squadron by rapidly fielding new MQ-9 warfighter capabilities, techniques, tactics and procedures and providing advanced training of initial cadre,” he said.

 

The squadron's maintenance expertise led to the selection of Creech AFB as the Air Force's next MQ-9 field training detachment, which will qualify new technicians on Reaper maintenance.

“This unification of our manpower has allowed a synergistic effect to provide the most impact to the entire MQ-9 combat enterprise, bringing our experts on a common task while providing better unit cohesion and comradery among our guardsmen,” said Nick.


The 232nd has also created a remotely piloted domestic operations team to integrate with the Joint Domestic Operations staff in Carson City, Nev., to analyze the capability of the MQ-9 for use during state disaster response. This ongoing analysis was part of the domestic readiness training exercise Vigilant Guard in 2016.


“The 232nd has helped NVANG at growing its roles in supporting the Governor’s Domestic Operations capability by adding the extremely capable MQ-9, laying down the foundation for future mission growth in Southern Nevada for the entire NVANG,” he said.

 

Nick said he is humbled by the growth of the mission today and how the Airmen of the 232nd ultimately contributed to combat RPA operations.

 

“The Airmen of the 232nd OS are proud to play a pivotal role in Team Creech and make a daily impact to the RPA community at large,” said Nick. “I am proud to serve with each one of them and anticipate amazing things to come in the future for the 232 OS and the RPA enterprise.”