With Cannon secure, the real work begins

The beaming smiles on the faces of the overflow crowd at the Clovis Civic Center on Saturday won’t go away for a long while. But the red, white and blue bunting and the flags are put away. And the politicians and military brass left for Fourth of July celebrations elsewhere.

So it is official. Operation Kept Cannon was celebrated after Operation Keep Cannon was won June 20.

Operation Transition Cannon has now begun.

Don’t moan and groan that you haven’t recovered from the strain of saving Cannon Air Force Base these last 13 months or more. Put the whine and cheese away.

Keep your smile. Rekindle your energy. Roll your sleeves back up.
The clock is ticking fast and furious already. There’s hard work aplenty to accomplish a successful transition in 15 months and stand up the new mission for Cannon Air Force Base.

In October 2007, we will say goodbye to our longtime friends of the 27th Fighter Wing and hello to our new friends of the 16th Special Operations Wing. By then we and the Air Force must complete a laundry list of vital tasks for the betterment of all of us who will be living in Clovis and Portales and their respective counties, Curry and Roosevelt.

Among the studies and plans and discussions to do are those for environmental impacts, housing, transportation growth, school needs, and city and county infrastructures. Most importantly, we must figure out how to pay for it all. Population, new business opportunities, job growth, utility needs — we’ll be talking a lot about each of these topics for years to come.

Doing all the work will take hundreds of volunteers, not just the hired hands and bosses of our public institutions. Please volunteer if you can.

We all know that hard work done excellently isn’t a new goal. Most recently, the Keep Cannon efforts reminded everyone it was a shared heritage gleaned from a century of living on the wind-swept Staked Plains of eastern New Mexico.

As Lt. Gov. Diane Denish noted in her remarks Saturday: “The work’s not done. The big part is to open up your arms and say to that special operations wing, ‘We welcome you.’”

The new mission appears well suited to our base and bombing range capabilities, as Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., pointed out: “We have lack of encroachment from Arizona to Texas.

“We have gotten this encroachment deal down.”

Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., added: “This (new mission) was the most perfect fit for this kind of base.”

So, too, are AFSOC’s values. They match our own to a T, and were uttered Saturday in a

powerful five-word mantra by Lt. Gen. Michael W. Wooley, commanding general of Air Force Special Operations Command:

“Live, work, play and pray.”

Being wordsmiths, and knowing the tasks at hand, we beg to expand it slightly:

“Live, work, play and pray — and volunteer.”