HaitiFirst Real-World Mission: Airmen of the 849th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Holloman AFB, N.M., are among those USAF forces deployed to support relief operations in earthquake-ravaged Haiti—just four months after standing up as an MQ-1 Predator remotely piloted vehicle training squadron. The 849th AMXS teamed with airmen from the 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing at Creech AFB, Nev., to form “Team Predator” to support ground forces in Haiti. “Neither squadron could have supported this deployment by ourselves, but by combining assets from both … we are able to get the job done,” said MSgt. Marlin Tatom, 849th AMXS production superintendent. Team Predator, operating unarmed MQ-1s, began flying missions over Haiti from Puerto Rico on Jan. 27, marking the first use of the Predator in a humanitarian operation. (Holloman report by A1C Sondra Escutia)
Reports of production troubles on the SpaceX rocket that could contend for military cargo deliveries happened to coincide with a different company’s concept receiving an early nod—one that might not require a rocket at all.