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our new Child Development Centers more than doubling our child care capacity. Other community needs were programmed and constructed includ- ing a new dining facility, postal service center and First-Term Airmen Center. Other major community needs are either planned or programmed in the FYDP including additional dormitories, a new fitness center, base pool, MWR facili- ties, and clinic. As with any undertaking of this size


we have faced and conquered many chal- lenges. In nearly every renovation effort we have been faced with challenges from asbestos, vermiculite, collapsed sewers, antiquated water and electrical distribution systems, inadequate com- munication systems, and other base infrastructure issues. In areas of new construction we have discovered debris from previous building sites or realized


the interoperability between sites and functions requires additional engineer- ing analysis. Despite the rapid pace of the effort we have been able to overcome these challenges and get ahead of oth- ers. We have successfully adjusted our Southeast Area Development plan when it came to light we could maximize our efficiency by reconfiguring the aircraft parking ramp and shifting several facili- ties, a potential $40M+ savings to the Air Force and USSOCOM. We have significantly enhanced the dormitories by providing multiple major renovations to existing facilities and advocating/ receiving three new 96-Airmen dormi- tories. We resurrected 60 housing units slated for demolition and restored them for occupancy starting in spring 2011. Our Mission Support Group proudly stands by the motto, “Solve for yes”.


Going Operational: Fielding Operational Capability and Deployments


From an operational perspective,


the unique challenge facing the 27 SOW over the last four years has been the combination of standing up squadrons to fly new types of aircraft in new mis- sion sets, moving squadrons to Cannon while engaged in combat, and conduct- ing rapid mission changes in response to the demands of ongoing conflicts. This effort culminated in April when Cannon activated its final programmed flying squadron, making our Operations Group the largest and most diverse in AFSOC. Our eight flying squadrons operate eight different types of aircraft (and will be gaining a ninth type in August). All this capability is underpinned by our Operational Support Squadron, which runs the Melrose Air Force Range and a Radar Approach Control facility, func- tions unique within the command. Cannon’s operational growth began


on 1 October 07, the day Cannon became an AFSOC installation. On that day, we activated the 27th Special Operations Support Squadron, which runs the air- field, the airspace, and the Melrose Air Force Range, among other things. The 73rd Special Operations Squadron also transferred from Hurlburt to Cannon along with the first of its MC-130W Combat Spear aircraft. On 2 May 08, we activated the 318th Special Operations Squadron, operating AFSOC’s fleet of small non-standard aviation platforms, the PC-12s and M-28s. On 1 June 08, the 27 SOW achieved a milestone when the 3rd Special Operations Squadron transferred to Cannon from Nellis AFB without a disruption in its operational mission flying the MQ-1B Predator remotely piloted aircraft RPA. On 19 June 09, the Spectres of the 16th Special Operations Squadron brought their AC-130H gunships to Cannon. Like the 3 SOS, the 16th moved to Cannon without interrupting their combat opera- tions. On 31 July 09, we activated the 33rd Special Operations Squadron to fly the MQ-9 Reaper RPA and conducted combat operations that same day. On


22 │ AIR COMMANDO JOURNAL │ Fall 2011 www.aircommando.org


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