y Airman 1st Class Christian Clausen
432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
3/30/2015 - CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nevada -- Air
Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III and his wife, Betty,
visited the Airmen of the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing to
discuss the importance of the ISR mission during their visit to Creech
Air Force Base, Nev., March 24.
Among his stops to various locations around base, Welsh met with RPA
pilots, senior non-commissioned officers, and the squadron and group
commanders of the 432nd Wing and 799th Air Base Wing to discuss changes
within the Air Force, such as the new enlisted performance report system
and force management, as well as the importance of the RPA enterprise.
In addition, Welsh held an all-call, during which he thanked and highlighted the successes of the men and women of Creech AFB.
"I'm here really just to say 'thanks,'" Welsh said. "Thank you for how
proud you make me every day, but more importantly, thank you for what
The general went on to say that the RPA enterprise in total, from those
who support it, to those who maintain and operate it, have been
completing a mission, making significant personal and family sacrifices
for more than a decade.
"It's absolutely stunning. The story of the last 15 years for the U.S.
Air Force is going to be absolutely rich but the centerpiece of that
story is going to be the development of an intelligence, surveillance,
and reconnaissance enterprise that the world has never seen before,"
Welsh said. "Every combatant commander wants you, which is a compliment,
but you also understand the strain it inflicts."
Welsh highlighted the effects the RPA enterprise has on joint and
coalition war-fighting capabilities, and the important role it has
played in helping defeat and deter enemies.
"Thank you for the things you have done and for the success you've had
and the success it has enabled," said Welsh. "Thank you for the feeling
of security you give men and women on the ground."
With the growing demand for RPA capabilities, Welsh acknowledged some of
the additional stressors that have been placed on RPA Airmen and
discussed his goal for stabilizing the mission to allow manning to
steady, while still allowing those wishing to enter the ISR community an
opportunity to do so.
"There are some things [about the RPA mission] that clearly have to
change. We have got to get ahead of the training curve, we have got to
get fully manned, and we have got to slow down the operational demand
long enough to produce new pilots and crewmembers so that when others
leave, the enterprise isn't adversely affected," he said.
Welsh assured Airmen everything that can be done is being done to
stabilize the force while continuing to complete the mission. He also
acknowledged that demands for the RPA capability will continue to grow.
After reassuring the Airmen, the general continued his remarks by outlining a fundamental practice that is required.
"We have to listen to our people and offer ideas," Welsh said. "We have
to care about the mission and our people now more than ever."