ALBUQUERQUE — Cannon Air Force Base, threatened with closure after its F-16 fighter squadrons were ordered elsewhere, will become a special operations base that will train crews to fight the war on terror, the Pentagon announced Tuesday.
The Air Force's 16th Special Operations Wing will move to Cannon by October 2007, the state's congressional delegation and Gov. Bill Richardson announced on a conference call.
My first reaction? Great! Now all those jobs won’t be lost, the housing market won’t tank, the base
hospital clinic and commissary will remain open… My second reaction? Oh, great. Now I’ll probably never frickin’ leave this place. But, seriously. This is good news.
The transition will start this summer, and the change of command is scheduled for
… the consensus among those on the conference call was that the eastern
Cannon is expected to get two types of helicopters, the CH53 and CH47; two gunships, the MC130 and the AC130U; and eventually, the V22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, said Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M.
The Pentagon said in a later news release Tuesday officials have not determined the exact aircraft mix between Cannon and
The new wing will train at night, using
The Pentagon had recommended closing the base as part of an effort to streamline the nation's military complex. But the federal Base Realignment and Closure Commission said Cannon was valuable and could have a future use.
The commission last August accepted the Pentagon's recommendation to send Cannon's three fighter squadrons elsewhere — but stopped short of closing the base.
Cannon could have shut down if a new mission was not found by
With that risk averted, the mood of those on the conference call was exuberant.
Closing Cannon — a fixture in the area for 55 years — would have eliminated more than 2,700 jobs at the base and an additional 2,000 indirect jobs, which community and state leaders argued would devastate eastern
Cannon's economic impact was put at $200 million annually.
By one estimate, shuttering the base would have cost one in three jobs in Clovis and nearby Portales; forced the closure of three elementary schools; and sent a booming housing market into a nosedive with the sudden availability of 2,000 vacant homes.
The whole article is here. But there isn’t a lot more, all the meat is above.