The commander of the New York Air National Guard’s 174th Fighter Wing in Syracuse hosted a media event Dec. 17 to discuss the unit’s new mission as MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted vehicle operators. Bradley said the airmen of the wing, which conducted its first Reaper mission Dec. 1, are “extremely proud of the fine heritage of this unit and they are equally excited about operating this cutting-edge technology.” The media got to talk with some of the RPV operators and that’s when they learned that Bradley had imposed a no-last name rule during media interviews. The Syracuse News reports that Bradley had taken note of a rising number of protests directed at the use of military drones and events around the country, like the killings at Ft. Hood, Tex., that had raised his concern level. The Air Guard unit also serves as USAF’s Reaper maintenance training central. (174th FW report by Capt. Anthony Bucci)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.