Wed. May 22nd, 2024

Cannon Air Force Base to lose personnel in Special Ops base shift

Seven MC-130J aircraft and roughly 350 service members are scheduled for relocation from Cannon Air Force Base in Clovis, N.M. to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, AZ.

The U.S. Air Force plans to move personnel from Cannon Air Force Base in Clovis, New Mexico as it restructures where highly specialized units are housed within the U.S. system of military bases.

Lt. Col Becky Heyes of the Air Force Special Operations Command told interviewers at KOB 4 that “members of the New Mexico Congressional delegation were briefed today by the secretary of the Air Force” but she was reluctant to offer specifics about the move. She did, however, state that relocation specifics will be made public from the Air Force next week.

Cannon Air Force Base has between 5,000 and 6,000 active-duty service members, with thousands of family members and retired service members living in the immediate community. During the military’s Base Realignment and Closure process in 2005, Cannon felt the full support of New Mexico political leaders who made an all-out effort to keep Cannon open and active.

Clovis, New Mexico Mayor Mike Morris took to Facebook with his stance on the matter:

“Clovis and the Air Force have a great, longstanding relationship. Cannon Air Force Base and the 27th SOW Command of AFSOC is our area’s largest employer having tremendous economic impact in Clovis. Further, in Clovis we are extremely proud to support the airmen and their families as valued members of our community. Therefore, any news that the AF is moving a squadron away from Cannon is definitely troubling. However, I understand that force structure and personnel numbers do tend to fluctuate and that this isn’t necessarily cause for alarm. That said, I am excited to have our congressional delegation engaged and focused on this. And I’m confident that their efforts will produce results. My support for the airmen is unwavering. Clovis’ support for CAFB is unwavering. As a community we continue the work to position this base to receive continued investment.”

Over the past several months, Senators Heinrich and Luján, Representative Leger Fernández, and Mayor Morris have engaged directly with Air Force leadership to advocate for its continued investment in Cannon AFB and defend against efforts to relocate assets and service members from Cannon AFB.

U.S. Sens. Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján, U.S. Representative Teresa Leger Fernández, and Clovis Mayor Mike Morris released the following statement in response to the decision:

“The importance of Cannon Air Force Base to Clovis, Curry County, and the State of New Mexico as a whole cannot be overstated. We are extremely disappointed in this decision by the Air Force’s leadership. And we are dedicated to preserving Cannon as a stronghold of Air Force Special Operations, ensuring its continued contributions to national security. We will continue our work to secure both a commitment and a concrete plan from the Air Force to increase its investment in Cannon. And we will keep doing all that we can to deliver for the service members, civilians, and families of Cannon AFB and the surrounding community.” (Press Release, Martin Heinrich, 7.28.23)


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