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Shaw establishes total force campus with intelligence schoolhouse

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  • By Staff Sgt. Jacob Gutierrez
  • 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The U.S. Air Force 25th Attack Group hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the MQ-9 Initial Intelligence Qualification Training schoolhouse on base, Aug. 11, 2022.

As part of a massive multi-phase upgrade to the group’s infrastructure at Shaw, the schoolhouse will be moving from its current location at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada. The building will also function as a new home for the 25th Operations Support Squadron, which provides intelligence and administrative support to the remotely piloted aircraft mission here.

“Four walls and a roof,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Timothy Monroe, 25th Attack Group (ATKG) commander, at the groundbreaking ceremony. “A dwelling for people, a dwelling for thought, a dwelling for development and a dwelling for disciplined execution of the MQ-9 weapons system.”

Beyond infrastructure upgrades, the schoolhouse’s move to Shaw is a strategic step to allow for students from active, guard and reserve components to experience a total force integration of the mission they train on. Total force integration is the standard for the Air Force as it blends active, guard and reserve components in exercises and contingency operations worldwide.

Intelligence analysts working across the total force are depended on by the remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) community to support combat missions which require them to accurately predict and assess threats to aircrew.

“Having an opportunity to bring the schoolhouse here to Shaw will be a difference in perspective [for the RPA community] in that our attack group operates under a different mindset,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Chelsea, 25th OSS A2 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance director, “It’s also providing more breadth of experience and exposure to different missions and creating that hub and partnership center for all of our total force components.”

The addition of the new building joins an already expanding campus for the 25th ATKG as their new headquarters building nears completion. The $90 million headquarters complex will house two operational squadrons and a group headquarters, making it the largest of its kind within the RPA community.

“This is a significant step for us and it’s great to be home at Shaw AFB as we continue to expand the physical footprint of what we do so that eventually we can expand the global footprint of what we do as an MQ-9 enterprise,” said Monroe.

As near-peer threats increase the drive to accelerate change, the RPA community, like the fighter community also located at Shaw, is evolving in order to realize and maintain the war-fighting advantage. The MQ-9 fills an internationally important role across numerous areas of responsibility and performs a number of missions such as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and close air support.

“For the first time in the history of our weapons system we are operating in places outside of the Middle East,” said Monroe. “That is a significant change to the way we have done business.”

The addition of the schoolhouse and the completion of the 25th ATKG campus will further cement Shaw AFB as a strategic center of combat airpower and, together with the F-16 Fighting Falcon, deliver missions critical to the National Defense Strategy with multiple multi-mission capable airframes.