29th Attack Squadron debuts MQ-9 at Oshkosh airshow

  • Published
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs

An MQ-9 Reaper from the 29th Attack Squadron was showcased for the first time in the world’s largest airshow, EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2021, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, July 26 – Aug. 1, 2021.

MQ-9 aircrew and maintainers from the 29th ATKS and 29th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, respectively, educated guests on Air Force careers, the 49th Wing mission, and MQ-9 capabilities during the airshow.

“I was incredibly humbled to be selected to represent the Air Force and 29th Attack Squadron at the airshow,” said Capt. Jarvis Trotter, 29th ATKS chief of training. “In addition to setting up an MQ-9 static display, our role was to interact with attendees to provide insight into our mission and capabilities.”

The Air Force Special Operations Command project officer for U.S. Air Force integration extended an invite to the 49th WG to host the first MQ-9 static display at the 2021 AirVenture. Two aircrew and five maintainers were selected to represent the 49th WG at the airshow.

“It was great to work alongside our maintenance Airmen and get the opportunity to see them in action,” said Trotter. “They are skilled professionals and were key to ensuring we were able to build and man the static display every day.”

The MQ-9 can be disassembled and loaded into a single container for deployment worldwide.

“The maintenance team was responsible for ensuring the aircraft was built and shipped,” said Master Sgt. Justin N. Messing, 49th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 29th AMU production superintendent. “It was my first time doing a static at such a large air show and it was a great experience. It was nice to have ops and maintenance working together to answer questions and help set up the aircraft.”

The Reaper was one of more than 3,000 aircraft on display as over 600,000 spectators gathered to support and learn more about the aviation community.

“It was fantastic being able to be a part of one of the world’s largest airshows,” said Master Sgt. Joshua Senchak, 29th ATKS flight chief and sensor operator. “It was definitely a sight to witness firsthand - the coordination of ground crews and air traffic control, and the aerial demonstrations. It was also an amazing opportunity to work alongside our maintainers in assembling and disassembling the aircraft for the airshow. They are true professionals in their trade.” 

The Reaper is employed primarily as an intelligence-collection asset and secondarily against dynamic execution targets. Its capabilities make it uniquely qualified to conduct irregular warfare operations in support of combatant commander objectives.