By Sharna Johnson: Freedom New Mexico
ol. James Slife assumed command Monday of the 27th Special Operations Group at Cannon Air Force Base.
Slife replaces Col. James Cardoso, who will remain at Cannon, serving as second in command of the base as the new vice-wing commander.
“I know you will lead them well for their lives depend on it,” base commander Col. Stephen Clark told Slife during a change of command ceremony on base.
Slife is coming from Washington, D.C., where he has been serving as a senior program analyst in the Irregular Warfare Division of the Directorate of Cost Assessment and Program Evaluation, an advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretaries of Defense.
A command pilot with dual master’s degrees in aerospace science and administrative science in organizational management, Slife and his wife Gwendolyn have four children.
“We’re both small town kids,” he said, telling the gathered crowd that they counted stop lights as they drove through Clovis for the first time Sunday night.
“Although this is a little bigger than what we’re used to, I’m sure we’ll get used to city life.”
The mission of the 27 SOG is to employ special operations combat air power in support of worldwide special operations missions, according to a press release from Cannon.
As he handed the reins of the 27th SOG over to Slife, Cardoso reminisced about his time at Cannon during the peak of the transition from a fighter wing to a special operations command.
“It was rarely easy,” he said. “We accomplished so much and still have so much to do.”
During the ceremony, Clark awarded Cardoso a Bronze Star, which is heroic or meritorious achievement or service in connection with military operations against an armed enemy.
Cardoso is a command pilot who flew combat missions over Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia and Albania.
He has served as an instructor for the T-38, MH53J/M and CV-22 aircraft, and before arriving at Cannon, he commanded the first CV-22 squadron.