42nd Attack Squadron / 42nd ATKS
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., 09 November 2006 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 ATKS 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 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."
On 13 March 2007, Creech Air Force Base welcomed the first MQ-9 Reaper, a larger and much more capable version of the MQ-1 Predator. The aircraft completed initial testing in California, then flew more than 250 miles in two hours to land at Creech. The aircraft was piloted by Lt. Col. Jon Greene, 42nd Attack Squadron commander. Flying with him was Senior Airman Aaron Aguilar, the sensor operator, also of the 42nd ATKS. By 2009, the 42nd ATKS would have 18 Reapers assigned for training and deployment purposes. According to Colonel Greene, the plan is for the Reapers to deploy by the beginning of summer.
Initially the 42nd ATKS worked under the 57th Operations Group in the 57th Wing. By 01 May 2007, the squadron would fall under the 432ng Wing, the first wing totally dedicated to Predator and Reaper operations.
Organized as 42 Aero Squadron on 13 Jun 1917. Redesignated Squadron I, Wilbur Wright Fld, OH, on 1 Oct 1918. Demobilized on 21 Feb 1919. Reconstituted and consolidated (1924) with 42 Squadron which was authorized on 10 Jun 1922. Organized on 5 Jul 1922. Redesignated: 42 School Squadron on 25 Jan 1923; 42 Bombardment Squadron on 1 Mar 1935. Inactivated on 1 Sep 1936. Redesignated 42 Bombardment Squadron (Medium) on 22 Dec 1939. Activated on 1 Feb 1940. Redesignated: 42 Bombardment Squadron (Heavy) on 11 Dec 1940; 42 Bombardment Squadron (Very Heavy) on 30 Apr 1946. Inactivated on 20 Oct 1948. Redesignated 42 Bombardment Squadron (Heavy), and activated, on 1 Dec 1948. Discontinued, and inactivated, on 1 Feb 1963. Redesignated 42 Strategic Squadron on 19 Dec 1988. Activated on 1 Jan 1989. Inactivated on 7 Aug 1990. Redesignated 42 Attack Squadron on 24 Oct 2006. Activated on 9 Nov 2006.
Evidentially served as flying training unit during 1917-1919. Performed search missions from Hawaii, 7 Dec 1941-Jul 1942; May-Oct 1943. Combat in South and Southwest Pacific, 24 Jul 1942-7 Feb 1943; in Central Pacific during May, Jun, Jul and Sep 1943; and in Central and Western Pacific, 13 Nov-20 Dec 1943 and 24 Oct 1944-12 Aug 1945. Received Distinguished Unit Citation (DUC) for service against the enemy in the South Pacific, 31 Jul-30 Nov 1942. Received Presidential Unit Citation (PUC) for actions against the enemy in the South Pacific, 7 Aug-9 Dec 1942. Operational training unit, Jan-Jun 1944. Non-operational, 1947-1948. Operational training in strategic bombardment from 1949 to 1963. Deployed to Nouasseur AB, French Morocco, 4 May-2 Jul 1955. During 1989-1990, squadron supported tanker aircraft for Tactical Air Forces (TAF) in defense of NATO objectives.
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