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CAPEX a first for 27th SOW

USAF photo: Tech. Sgt. Josef Cole A CV-22 Osprey, flown by the 20th Special Operations Squadron, exfiltrates a special operations team during a Capabilities Exercise on June 26. The CAPEX at Melrose Air Force Range educated base employees and their families about the mission and capabilities of the 27th Special Operations Wing at Cannon.

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE — 27th Special Operations Wing hosted its first Capabilities Exercise (CAPEX) June 26 at Melrose Air Force Range to give approximately 400 airmen and their families a better understanding of what the wing does in combat and how special operations forces and aircraft interact to accomplish its missions.

“We are doing it because a lot of our support personnel have never seen what it is that they are supporting,” said Capt. Paul Golando, 16th Special Operations Squadron, who was instrumental in coordinating the event. “A lot of our contractors and airmen grew up with (an Air Combat Command) mission and mentality, and this is to show how much things have changed.”

For others, the exercise gave their families a chance to get familiar with the base’s mission.

“Every night when I come home from work, I try to explain to the kids what we do, but they don’t really get it,” said Maj. Mark Sudduth, currently the acting wing Inspector General, in addition to being an AC-130 gunship pilot. “It’s a cool opportunity to show the kids what we do every day and when we deploy.”

The CAPEX was a team effort by airmen and Army Special Forces. It demonstrated how the operations and maintenance groups prepared aircraft for missions. Explosive Ordnance Disposal personnel set up explosions, adding more realism to the event as well as to hone their skills. In the scenario, opposing forces, or OPFOR personnel, captured an Army Special Forces team. A 27th SOW AC-130H Spectre gunship arrived on the scene to provide close-air support with the 105mm Howitzer and 40mm Bofors cannons.

Spectators watched from a mesa after buses transported approximately 400 observers from Cannon Air Force Base and parking area at Melrose Air Force Range.

Also a part of the exercise scenario, 27 SOW aircraft conducted pre-assault firings, Soldiers from 10th Air Support Operations Squadron in Fort Riley, Kan., performed High Altitude Low Opening parachute jumps and other aircraft conducted simulated casualty evacuations.

“It was cool how the (CV-22) Osprey made all the dirt go flying,” said Chase Carson, the son of Tech. Sgt. Timothy Carson of the 551st Special Operations Squadron.

His brother, Asa, said he really liked the big explosions, and Kyle, another brother said, “it was fun to watch everyone work together.”

“We waited a long time to get to see this stuff and to finally have you guys put the show on was just fantastic,” said their mother, Angel Carson. “We really appreciate it.”

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