Air Force accepts land gift from New Mexico to expand Special Ops mission

  • Published
  • By Air Force Real Property Agency Public Affairs
  • AFRPA / PA
The U.S. Air Force accepted a land gift offer from the State of New Mexico during a ceremony in Santa Fe Jan. 18 hosted by the New Mexico State Land Office. The 11,000-acre land gift, valued at approximately $3.2 million, will support the Joint Air Force Special Operations mission at Cannon Air Force Base.

On June 23, 2008, the State of New Mexico and the Air Force entered into a Memorandum of Understanding that initiated the framework for gifting the land. The Air Force Real Property Agency, the 27th Special Operations Wing, the Air Force Special Operations Command, and Headquarters Air Force have worked with the State of New Mexico to receive this gift.

The Air Force will use the additional land for special operations training - including aircraft live fire ranges and desert and urban warfare training - at Cannon Air Force Base.
Officials present at the ceremony included The Honorable Terry Yonkers, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Logistics; New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez; State Land Commissioner Ray Powell; state legislators; and Roosevelt and Curry county officials. During the first part of the ceremony, New Mexico State Land Commissioner Powell leased the state trust land to the State of New Mexico. Then Gov. Martinez assigned the lease to the Air Force.

"It's an honor for me to be here today to accept this very gracious gift from the State of New Mexico on behalf of the men and women of the United States Air Force," said Assistant Secretary Yonkers. "Ranges and airspace are the life blood of our ability to train and be ready to fight those conflicts the nation asks of us."

"The 11,000 acres of lease trust land will allow the Air Force to expand territory for military training in the Melrose Range area," said Commissioner Powell during his opening remarks. "This is a win-win-win; it is going to help create jobs, help the community in terms of economic security, and it's going to help our national security."

Gov. Martinez said, "With the war in Iraq at an end and the progress made in Afghanistan, our nation is at a moment of transition. These 11,000 acres will help in that transition as this land will be used to help in the training of our armed forces, just as the 27th Special Operations Wing at Cannon Air Force Base by fostering potential expansion of missions there."

The Air Force Real Property Agency acquires, manages and disposes of Air Force-controlled real property worldwide. AFRPA, headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a field operating agency within the office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Logistics. AFRPA oversees approximately 10 million acres of land - almost twice the size of New Jersey.