Air Commando Association: Cannon airmen working to start local chapter

Cannon Connections: Liliana Castillo Master Sgt. George Lowe, left, and Master Sgt. John Hearn examine banners intended to spread the word about the new association at the Air Commando Association meeting last week.

Liliana Castillo

Air Commandos at Cannon Air Force Base are working to create a chapter of the Air Commando Association at the New Mexico base.

The association was formed during the Vietnam War with the purpose of celebrating all things related to Air Commandos, including spirit and comradeship.

Currently, the ACA has only one chapter at Mary Esther, Fla. but airmen at Cannon are working to change that.

The group is in the beginning stages with a small group working to get the association going. President Alfred Chafee led a meeting to discuss increasing membership and bringing attention to the presence of the association.

Association Vice President Master Sgt. John Hearn, assistant chief with Fire Emergency Services, said the association has between 30 and 40 members at Cannon because of airmen who have transferred in from Hurlburt Field in Florida.

The association at Hurlburt has about 3,000 members, according to its website.

Hearn said ACA will hold monthly meetings to bring air commandos together to reflect on lives and careers of air commandos.

He said when the group grows, they hope to do fundraisers and provide scholarships for active duty members and dependents.

The organization welcomes active duty, dependents, retirees and widows.

“This is an organization that takes care of its own,” Hearn said.

Master Sgt. George Lowe said the push to create a chapter at Cannon came from Chief Master Sgt. Matthew Caruso.

Lowe said each branch of the military has its own association.

“When Cannon stood up, it needed to get on its feet and now we have people retiring out of here and we have no way of keeping in touch with them,” Lowe said.

Lowe and Hearn said it’s important to have the association at Cannon to provide support the airmen.

“It gives us an opportunity to stay in contact with veterans and assist them with anything they might need,” Hearn said. “It’s an SOF (special operations forces) brotherhood.”

Lowe said being in Special Operations takes a special breed of person.

“We do it for the love of the job and the air commando title,” Lowe said. “We ask a lot to be an Air Commando and we just want to be able to give back a lot too.”

The ACA would also teach airmen of all ages about the history of SOF.

“The ACA is a great way to distinguish us from other bases. Now we have a professional association for us,” Association President Capt. Alfred Chaffee said.