Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Cannon's Richard Masters heads for Hurlburt

He's been a bridge between the Clovis and Cannon Air Force Base communities for nearly 16 years. Now Richard Masters feels he's needed closer to his family home.

Masters, director of staff for the 27th Special Operations Wing at Cannon, said he will be leaving the area soon to provide assistance to his parents as they are struggling with increasing health issues.

Masters will continue his career as director of staff in Hurlburt Field, Fla., and will join the staff of the 1st Special Operations Wing.

"The same dedication that we have always sought to give this base and this community is now needed on the home front, so we have made the tremendously hard decision to relocate to get closer and be in a better position to help my family," Masters said.

Masters and his family have been at Clovis since 2007. He said his sons have been raised here.

The Masters family integrated within the community for years, from being ambassadors at the Chamber of Commerce to providing services to the United Way of Eastern New Mexico's Youth Success Task Force.

"We absolutely took advantage of all this community has to offer. ... Both my wife Jean and I believe that it takes involvement in the community to make a community truly thrive and we both have put that belief into action," Masters said.

Erinn Burch, executive director of United Way of Eastern New Mexico, said Masters is a "champion" for the work he has put into the local communities. She said he has tackled systemic challenges for families for six years and it will be hard to replace such a strong pillar in the community.

"Honestly we probably wouldn't still be chugging along at the same rate that we are if it hadn't been for him. He just made it possible for more community leaders to understand and be on board with what we're doing," Burch said.

Clovis Chamber Executive Director Ernie Kos said with Masters leaving, "it's more than a coworker leaving, we're losing a member of our family."

"He's made a significant impact in building and sustaining a strong relationship between Cannon, Clovis and Portales. ... The Masters, both Jean and Rick have been the bedrock over the years," Kos said.

His role as staff director included advising Cannon's commander on a wide range of operational, administrative and inter-governmental issues. Masters said he also served as the senior civilian employee where he would advise the commander and Cannon's civilian workforce on a wide range of employment issues to include recruiting, retention, workforce development, promotion and advancement, and, when needed, employee discipline.

"Being a civilian who is less mobile than our military population, I have become the commander's principal advisor for community relations and have served as a conduit between our local civic leaders, government officials and base leadership," Masters said.

Masters helped establish the "Five & Thrive" initiative, which provides affordable housing, education, access to specialty medical care, childcare and spouse employment that impacts the quality of life and quality of service of the Air Commandos.

"What I realized a long time ago, though, is that when we work in partnership between the base and the community to rally resources, create programs and find solutions in these areas, it doesn't just benefit the base. It benefits our entire community and everyone in it, which makes this absolutely the most rewarding aspect of my job," Masters said.

Before his position as director of staff, Masters served nearly 2o years in active duty. Some of Masters' biggest accomplishments as staff director have been his role in growing the 27th Wing from three C-130 squadrons to nine flying squadrons with five different variants of special operation aircrafts and more than 6,000 personnel.

"What I am most proud of is being in a position to support the amazing, dedicated, and selfless men and women who make up the Air Commandos of Cannon AFB and earned that reputation that this wing has. These are truly America's best and brightest who put service before self every single day. Our nation and national interests are in good hands because of the men and women of the 27 SOW," Masters said.

Masters said it is still undetermined who will be replacing him as the director of staff in Cannon. He said the Air Force Personnel Center will be carefully processing through applications to seek a replacement who can fulfill the role, but Masters said he expects the role to be picked up quickly.

"In the meantime, we do have a deep pool of talent here in the wing and will pull a couple of folks up to fill the role on a temporary basis until the hiring process is complete," Masters said.

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