20th ATKS 'Hellhounds' earn RPA Squadron of the Year

  • Published
  • By Robert Brooks
  • 432nd Wing/432 Air Expeditionary Wing

The 20th Attack Squadron, a geographically separated unit (GSU) of the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing, and located at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, was appointed General Atomics’ 2019 Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) Squadron of the Year, as of August 18, 2020.

The RPA Squadron of the Year, commemorated with a trophy, is awarded to the top RPA unit within the Air Force.  With more than 40 RPA squadrons conducting operations across multiple Major and Combatant Commands, this competitive recognition is a significant accomplishment.

The 20th ATKS, known as the Hellhounds, fly the MQ-9 Reaper and provide close air support for friendly forces and coalition troops on the ground.  The Hellhounds keep deployed service members safe from enemy harm by serving as the eyes in the sky and guarding against threats.

“We are very humbled and appreciative to receive such a prestigious award,” said Lt. Col. Daniel, 20th ATKS commander, “Everyone in the Hellhound organization worked incredibly hard to help accomplish our mission.” 

“Through their dedicated support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, the 20th Attack Squadron became the U.S Air Force’s most lethal squadron, achieving a 97 percent strike effectiveness rating,” said Col. Stephen Jones, 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing commander.  “The Hellhounds’ accomplishments throughout 2019 speak for themselves, as their contributions impact the Reaper enterprise as a whole and demonstrate what dedicated and empowered Airmen can accomplish.”

The motto, “to fight the way we train, and train the way we fight” is not lost on the 20th ATKS, who developed a robust continuation training plan and completed more than 2,800 practice strike scenarios to ensure they were ready when called upon to employ air-to-ground weapons.

The unit also integrated with 80 aircraft, and 4 partner nations in support of 11 joint exercises ensuring aircrew readiness to conduct multiple worldwide mission sets.

Unrelenting in the pursuit of advancing the MQ-9’s utility and execution of National Defense Strategy, Col. Timothy Monroe, 25th Attack Group Commander, shared his pride in the Hellhounds, and drive for the future achievements of his team.

“The 20th Attack Squadron brought to bear the best of the MQ-9 weapon system, its agility, lethality and persistence,” Monroe said. “Their teamwork also serves as a reminder that our Airmen are ready for any challenge around the globe and they are moving aggressively towards National Defense Strategy priorities to win the future fight.”

The 20th Attack Squadron will receive this annual rotating trophy, engraved with their squadron name as the 4th recipient in a small, local, ceremony in the near future.