Letters from Connie P. Landry to Commission concerning the closure of Cannon AFB Page: 4 of 18
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presume not much, but I offer another viewpoint. I believe it was these same F-16's that
made strategic air strikes during the Gulf War, helping to win that war in a matter of days
and with no US casualties. It was these same F- 16s that conducted highly successful
bombing raids in Baghdad during the current war. Yes, I understand that these planes
could easily be absorbed by some other base. But that would, in my opinion, be very
short-sighted. I agree that we need to modernize our military force structure and reduce
spending. However, I think this action should be taken with an eye to the future. We
should be asking questions such as: Where can we expand military operations without
encroachment and without alienating the civilian population? Where can we get the most
from our training and development dollars? Cannon Air Force Base ranks at the top of
the list of answers to those questions, with the added bonus that the community WANTS
the base here and the weather is exceptionally good for virtually any type of military
operation the Air Force, the Army, and the Marines could undertake. Even the Navy
could use the facilities at Cannon for flight training.
The other criterion that was seemingly disregarded during the evaluation was the
economic impact on Clovis and Portales. Local and state officials have analyzed this
issue and have projected that closing Cannon Air Force Base would result in a loss of
20% of the jobs in the Clovis market. I work at a small, independent bank with its main
office in Clovis and a branch in Portales. My CEO and board of directors have asked me
to develop a plan to address the anticipated reduction in income. That plan includes the
elimination of 3 to 4 employees out of our present staff of 20. We are already seeing
adverse effects on the economy, just because we are on the list. Housing starts had been
robust for the past two years. Contractors have now virtually shut down new
construction. Real estate sales, which had also been strong for the past two years, have
declined significantly, with sales contracts being cancelled following the release of the
BRAC list. Needless to say, this is only the tip of the iceberg. The Clovis economy had
just begun to rebound from the effects of a prolonged drought. I fear that will be nothing
when compared to the depth and breadth of the impact of the base closure. While other
military installations around the nation would be readily absorbed by their surrounding
cities and towns, the facilities at Cannon would likely succumb to the ravages of time and
the environment before they would be adequately utilized for some other purpose.
I appreciate the fact that the commission will be holding one of its regional meetings in
Clovis on June 24th. I urge all nine members of the commission to attend this meeting.
Only by seeing the facilities currently at Cannon, seeing the potential for expansion and
better utilization of those facilities, and experiencing the support of people in Clovis and
Portales will you be able to fully appreciate that Cannon Air Force Base is indeed a jewel
that should be kept to continue to play a vital role in the security of the United States.
Connie P. Landry
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Letters from Connie P. Landry to Commission concerning the closure of Cannon AFB, letter, June 18, 2005; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc15871/m1/4/: accessed November 12, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.