Clovis Community Leaders Working To Keep Cannon AFB Open - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/15/05

Clovis Community Leaders Working To Keep Cannon AFB Open

A major air force base in North Eastern New Mexico is on the military's list for possible closure. The Pentagon has recommended the closing of 188 military facilities in an effort to save $49 billion over the next 20 years. Cannon air force base in Clovis, New Mexico is on that list.

However the community of Clovis has plans to try to convince the Federal Base Realignment and Closure Commission to remove Cannon Air Force Base from the list. Clovis community leaders are expected to visit Washington this week to begin efforts to keep the base open. Though the base is only on the recommended list, and not scheduled for closure at this point, the community is already gearing up for the challenge.

"We really are focused on getting Cannon Air Force Base off of that list," explains Terry Moberly. He's chairman of the Community of Fifty, a group composed of Clovis citizens organized to support Cannon Air Force Base. For the past 50 years that's exactly what they've done but this may be their most challenging assignment yet.

List of Proposed Military Base Closings
A list of military facilities the Defense Department recommended
"We think that they have made a huge mistake and we don't think they have done the proper analysis of the base," says Moberly. He estimates, annually, the base pumps more than $200 million into the Clovis-area economy. Closing the base would mean the loss of more than 2,000 military jobs and nearly 400 civilian jobs.

"We realize there will be an impact on the local community, there'll be an impact on the people that wear the uniforms and the civilians employed on this base," explains Colonel Jeff Harrell, vice wing commander. He says despite community protest, the base will follow orders for closure if that's what congress decides.

"What our president, our congress, our BRAC commission determines will drive what we do and we'll salute smartly and follow those orders," adds Colonel Harrell.

The community of Clovis will know by this fall if the base will be closed. In the meantime, Moberly says he's optimistic the community will win it's fight in keeping cannon air force base alive. "We don't believe that we will be on that list in three to four months," he says.

Monday, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is hosting a town hall meeting in Clovis. The BRAC committee is expected to visit the Clovis area in the near future for public hearings.

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