Base name weathers 50 years of change

Courtesy photo Gen. John K. Cannon

Today marks 50 years since Clovis Air Force Base became Cannon, named in honor of the late Gen. John K. Cannon.

Cannon served as commander of Tactical Air Command after a lengthy career that extended through World War II and up to his death in 1955.

Gen. John K. Cannon
Born: 1892, Salt Lake City

Died: 1955, Arcadia, Calif.

Received: Four Distinguished Service Medals, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Air Medal and decorations from Great Britain, France, Italy, Poland, Yugoslavia and Morocco.

Cannon began in the late 1920s as Portair Field, a civilian passenger facility, later named Clovis Municipal Airport.

In 1943 a glider detachment became the first military unit to use the facility. Later that same year, the base was renamed Clovis Army Air Field and was host to a bomber training wing.

In 1957 when the base was named for Gen. John K. Cannon, it was home to the 312th and 474th Fighter Bomber Groups and hosted
F-100 Sabres, F-84s and F-86s.

Over the years the base has hosted multiple aircraft, most recently the F-111s in the 1990s and currently F-16s.
In October, Cannon will be switched to the command of the 16th Special Operations Wing and will welcome a new family of aircraft including C-130s, CV-22s and other aircraft.

Names over the years:
Portair Field 1920s
Clovis Municipal Airport 1930s
Clovis Army Air Field 1943
Clovis Air Force Base 1951
Cannon Air Force Base 1957

— Compiled by CNJ Staff Writer Sharna Johnson
Sources:, and