The 16th Special Operations Wing bound for Cannon Air Force Base will be formed from existing units and new squadrons, Lt. Gen. Michael Wooley told the Air Force Times in an article published in its July edition.
A representative of U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici’s office forwarded the Air Force Times article Friday to the Clovis News Journal via e-mail.
According to the article, the units likely to move to Cannon in 2007 include:
• The 3rd Special Operations Squadron, which is based at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., and flies the remote-controlled MQ-1 Predator.
• The 73rd Special Operations Squadron, which is in the process of being stood up at Hurlburt Field to receive a dozen MC-130Ws. The MC-130Ws are intended to fill the need for additional aircraft able to refuel helicopters and fly low-level insertion missions.
• A new squadron to handle AFSOC’s growing mission of flying small, civilian-style aircraft to carry special operations troops without attracting the attention that a C-130 does.
• A new squadron to handle the training of foreign air forces. The unit would include aircrew members as well as maintainers.
AFSOC has also proposed moving to Cannon the command’s two overseas groups, the 352nd Special Operations Group at Royal Air Force Base Mildenhall, England, and the 353rd Special Operations Group at Kadena Air Base, Japan, the Times reported. The groups include a mix of MC-130 airplane and MH-53 Pave Low helicopter squadrons as well as special tactics squadrons.
Moving the overseas groups back to the U.S. would be in line with the Defense Department’s idea of reducing the foreign basing of special operations units, Wooley told the Times.
However, a final decision on moving the groups to Cannon has to be approved by U.S. Special Operations Command and the Defense Department, Wooley told the Times.