Military feature: Cannon airmen share thoughts on jobs

By Liliana Castillo: Freedom New Mexico

The 27th Special Operations Wing at Cannon Air Force Base held its first Media Day last week and personnel were candid about their jobs and living in eastern New Mexico.

Eleven members of the media toured Cannon’s mission, aircraft, growth and construction.

Capt. Eric Bowman, 32, said his job on the AC-130H is rewarding.

“We get to help guys on the ground,” Bowman said. “They can wake up the next day and we might not hear from them then, but you might get an e-mail and you realize you were able to be there.”

Staff Sgt. Nicholas Peloquin, 29, said he gets satisfaction from helping the troops on the ground.

Capt. James Naugle, 28, just made the transition to aircraft commander on the MC-130W after six years in the co-pilot seat. Naugle said pilots have to be trusted.

“It’s all about credibility and experience,” Naugle said.

Naugle volunteered to move to Cannon and was one of the first stationed here in 2008.

“Clovis has less crime, less traffic, and a good shooting range,” he said.

Naugle said special operations commandos tend to have more experience.

“It’s important to have the experience to make the decisions you have to in special ops,” he said.

Portales-born Staff Sgt. Jonathon Baldwin is a sensor operator for the Predator, a remotely piloted aircraft. He said he joined the Air Force to travel the world but was glad to be near home.

“I’ve seen the world and now I’m back and get to see my family and friends all the time,” Baldwin said.

Baldwin and 1st Lt. Scott Willis, a Predator pilot, work in a ground control station, which allows them to remotely pilot the Predator.

The MC-130W is being modified to better serve the special operations mission said Col. Stephen Clark, and will be replaced by the MC-130J over the next few years.