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New chapter for Air Force Special Operations begins

by Airman Elliott Sprehe
27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

10/4/2007 - CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFPN) -- Cannon Air Force Base Airmen stood up the newly designated 27th Special Operations Wing during a unit redesignation and change-of-command ceremony Oct. 1 here, which began a new chapter for Air Force Special Operations Command. 

As the 27th Fighter Wing, an Air Combat Command asset, inactivated, the 27th SOW stood up as the second of  two active-duty special operations wings in the Air Force.

Col. Scott West, the commander of the 27th FW, closed a chapter of the Air Force when he handed the unit's colors to Lt. Gen. Norman R. Seip, the 12th Air Force/Air Force Southern commander. The colors of the 27th FW were then cased, formally inactivating the unit.

"I'm ready to give up the 27th FW and turn it over to a great organization, as (Cannon AFB Airmen) stand ready to become proud members of the 27th SOW," General Seip said.

Following the inactivation of the 27th FW, Col. Tim Leahy, the former vice commander of the 1st SOW at Hurlburt Field, Fla., accepted command of the new wing from Lt. Gen. Michael W.  Wooley, the AFSOC commander.

"Our promise to you is that we will uphold the high standards that the 27th FW has been so faithfully known for throughout its rich history," General Wooley said.

General Wooley then ceremoniously passed the guidon to Colonel Leahy, the first commander of the 27th SOW, who accepted command of the Air Force's newest wing.

"I'd like to thank the men and women of Air Force Special Operations Command, Air Combat Command, and 12th Air Force who worked to make the transition of this base from one (Air Force) major command to another," Colonel Leahy said. "I assure you the 27th SOW, like the 27th FW before it, will be good neighbors, and together we will make New Mexico an even better place to work and raise our families."

The first AFSOC aircraft to move to Cannon AFB will be the 73rd Special Operations Squadron's MC-130W Combat Spear currently located at Hurlburt Field. The MC-130W conducts infiltration, exfiltration and resupply of special operations forces and provides refueling capability for special operations vertical-lift assets like the CV-22 Osprey.

The total number of aircraft, to be stationed at Cannon AFB is expected to be around 100. The final active-duty population at Cannon AFB is expected to be between 4,400 to 5,600 people. It will take approximately three years to complete the build-up of the new special operations wing at Cannon AFB.

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