Air Force officer shares experiences

A variety of Portales business owners piled into the Yam Theatre on Thursday to listen to a presentation on the Cannon Air Force Base 27th Special Operations Maintenance Squadron.

The occasion was the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce quarterly luncheon and Maj. Bernabe Whitfield, the commander of the squadron, gave the civilian business owners insight into how the maintenance squadron operates, telling what each section of the squadron does.

"They have to be efficient and fast at what they do, so these guys have to always be practicing what they do," Whitfield said of the squadron, adding airmen in the squadron train continuously.

Whitfield said the squadron supports the following aircraft: AC-130H, AC-130W, MQ-1, MQ-9 and the CV-22.

Whitfield explained the different kinds of weapons on aircraft and what they do, telling his audience that the Griffin, located on a AC-130W aircraft, is a gun used for multiple targets while the GBU-38 is a weapon used as a guided munition in adverse weather conditions.

Alisa Boswell: Portales News-Tribune

Maj. Bernabe Whitfield, commander of the 27th Special Operations Maintenance Squadron at Cannon Air Force Base, spoke Thursday at the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce luncheon about what his squadron does.

He said the fabrication flight under the squadron deals with corrosion, metals technology and aircraft structural maintenance.

The maintenance flight supports aircraft flight controls, wheels and tires and aircraft recovery.

After explaining each section of the maintenance squadron and explaining aircraft and their weapons, Whitfield shared his personal experiences in maintenance.

Whitfield told his audience a story of being deployed overseas and building a friendship with maintenance crews from the Korean and Japanese militaries.

"When you're deployed, a lot of work gets done by relationships," Whitfield said. "Relationship goes a long way to get things done when you meet people down the range like that."

Whitfield said by building a strong relationship with the foreign troops, his squadron's overseas mission was made even more successful and less costly due to the help the foreign aide offered.

"We all appreciate all the support and hospitality you guys show us," Whitfield said when closing as he thanked Portales business men and women for their support of Cannon and special operations.

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