Monday, June 13, 2011

Cannon AFB In the News

Well, I'm a week late and several dollars short on this one:
6/8/2011 - CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- The second annual 27th Special Operations Wing Capabilities Exercise (CAPEX), a demonstration of the wing's many special operations aircraft and missions for Cannon Airman and their families, was held at Melrose Air Force Range, June 4, 2011. The CAPEX was organized by Capt. Clayton Schuety, 16th Special Operations Squadron, and it required much preparation to ensure it was safe and exciting for viewers.

Melrose Air Force Range has been an integral part of Cannon Air Force Base since the early 1950s. Its 60,010 acres are used by many military units for training purposes. "The range is home to approximately 105 targets, which include trucks, planes, and tanks," said Capt. Carson Heier, event narrator, 3rd Special Operations Squadron. "Target arrays are laid out to provide a realistic view of typical ground targets, including an airfield and battlefield."

This setup made Melrose Air Force Range an ideal place to hold the CAPEX. The scenario played out for the crown was a direct action mission: a short-duration strike taken to seize, destroy, capture, or recover in denied areas, said Capt. Heier.

"This year the event was held closer to the Jockey impact area, whereas last year the event was held on the mesa," said Capt. Schuety. "Last year, the mesa provided a superior view of the range and personnel on the ground. However, it didn't afford viewers the ability to view the live fire profile from the AC-130H Spectre Gunship."

Catherine O'Bannon, spouse of Staff Sgt. Robert O'Bannon, a deployed sensor operator with the 16th Special Operations Squadron, said that being able to watch the Gunship shooting was her favorite element of CAPEX.

"Last year they didn't shoot and it was really cool to be able to see it this time," she said.
Dang.  I sure would like to go to next year's event, which means I'll have to look into this.  

There are 40 photos accompanying the linked article, all of which are downloadable in high-res format.  The two pics above show an AC-130 firing its 105mm cannon and a Pilatus PC-12 special ops aircraft doing a fly-by.  I obtained both pics from the linked article.


Just be polite... that's all I ask.