By Marlena Hartz : Freedom Newspapers
This Thursday, a group of local officials will board a military aircraft headed for Hurlburt Field, Fla., home of the Air Force Special Operations Command.
An AC-130U Gunship from Hurlburt will usher about a dozen regional officials to the installation, where they will meet with Air Force Special Operations representatives and answer questions from base personnel, officials said.
The Air Force Special Operations 16th Wing will assume ownership of Cannon Air Force Base in October 2007.
That transfer removed Cannon from the Department of Defense list for closure.
Representatives from Plains Regional Medical Center, Clovis Municipal Schools, regional government entities and the Committee of 50 — a group that lobbies on behalf of Cannon — were invited on the visit, which also includes a tour of Hurlburt Field, the current home of the 16th SOW.
“We are taking … a panel of folks that have expertise in a given area,” said Clovis Mayor David Lansford, who plans to participate in the visit.
“We want to see and listen to them (at Hurlburt) so we can better understand the type of mission that will be coming here and the type of needs they will have, so we can make adjustments on a local level to support their mission,” Lansford said.
Each entity is covering the cost of its representative’s travel, according to officials.
Accommodations for regional officials, such as sleeping arrangements, will be provided on base, officials said.
“We are mostly going so people there can have a firsthand shot at being able to talk with us,” said Clovis Municipal Schools Superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm, who also plans to participate in the visit.
“What we have pictured is pretty informal,” she said.
The Hurlburt visit ends Friday afternoon, according to officials.