Home of the 27th Special Operations Wing (27th SOW), Cannon Air Force Base is named after General John Kenneth Cannon, a World War II Mediterranean combat commander and former chief of U. S. Air Forces in Europe.
Originally a fighter base with F-111s and later F-16s, on Oct. 1, 2007, a new chapter for Cannon began when it became the newly designated 27th SOW. The transition of Cannon AFB to the Air Force Special Operations Command mission offers training conditions similar to that in the Central Command and other theaters of operation, and will help the wing meet its objectives of global defense. The Melrose Range, located in Roosevelt County, has opened up new and unique training opportunities for the 27th Special Operations Wing.
The MC-130W Combat Spear, AC-130H Spectre, MC-130C Combat Shadow, MQ-1 Predator, CV-22 Osprey, and additional light and medium aircraft are assigned to the wing at Cannon.
Cannon currently has over 5,600 personnel assigned to the base. Those numbers are still growing and it is expected to grow for several more years. Numerous large construction projects are under way with others planned.
With the base located less than 15 miles to the north in Curry County, numerous Air Force personnel and contractors call Portales home.
Portales and Cannon have an enviable base/town relationship. The communication channels between the base and the surrounding communities are second to none. The environment is that of a mutual working agreement where the base sees itself as part of the local community, and conversely the local community sees itself as integral to Cannon’s success as an AFSOC base.
Cannon members volunteer thousands of hours each year to organizations in the surrounding communities, including mentoring and tutoring local school children, participating in chamber activities, helping scouting groups, churches and veteran’s organizations.