CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --
The Honorable Barbara Barrett, Secretary of the Air Force, toured Cannon and visited several units May 20, 2020.
The day-long visit gave Barrett the chance to see first-hand the readiness capabilities of the 27th Special Operations Wing.
Her visit included stops at the 27th Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron and the 20th Special Operations Squadron, amongst other units.
“It was reassuring to hear [Barrett’s] insight and reflection on the wing and Air Force’s response to COVID-19,” said Lt. Col. Mark Hamilton, 20 SOS commander. “We also noted her interest in taking away some of the best practices learned from the pandemic to become a more efficient and lethal vertical lift squadron.”
Hamilton and Barrett discussed the unit’s role in the wing’s mission, briefly showcasing the history of the unit and its accomplishments and how they’ve continued staying current in meeting evolving demands with modern solutions.
“We are the sole vertical lift platform at Cannon and we strive to execute that professional specialized work for our nation,” Hamilton added.
In light of current times, Barrett not only wanted to see day-to-day work of some of the base’s units, but wanted to hear each of their methods of balancing Airman safety and meeting mission requirements. It’s been over two months since the 27 SOW began ordering Airmen to work from home to minimize possible exposure to COVID-19.
“We were presented with a unique problem set and rapidly adapted our lives in order to maintain readiness, minimize exposure and ultimately protect our collective family,” Hamilton said.
Like many units, the 20 SOS has created a new shift system that essentially “splits” the squadron to minimize possible exposure.
“While the workload has not reduced, we have become more effective at leveraging technology to work from home,” Hamilton said.
Like Hamilton, the 27 SOLRS commander, Lt. Col. Shaun Parker, was able to meet Barrett and explain their side of the mission, as well as highlight some of his unit’s Airmen for their individual effort in keeping operations requirements met.
“I very much appreciated how she recognized the hard work of our members that have led the wing's pre-quarantine efforts to ensure we could deploy and relieve our deployed members that have been extended,” Parker said. “I took away that she was interested in how we were maintaining readiness in the face of COVID-19.”
These two units were examples of how all squadrons at Cannon haven’t let the pandemic impact them, but instead chose to adapt and press on with executing global operations at a high standard.