CLOVIS, N.M. (KAMR/KCIT) — Just two hours west of Amarillo, you’ll find some of the coolest aircraft in the world, and world-class trained men and women at Cannon Air Force Base in Clovis, New Mexico.
And the man overseeing all of this is blazing a trail of his own, as well as for future commanders.
Cannon Air Force Base is the home of the 27th Special Operations Wing, and at the base, you’ll find some of the most advanced airmen, aircraft, and equipment on the planet.
It’s also home to the Melrose Air Force Range, a 70,000-acre training area for air-to-ground, small arms, and electronic combat.
It’s all for one mission, to Fly, Fight and Win.
It’s a crucial part of our national defense, and the man responsible for it all is Colonel Terence Glenn Taylor, Commander of the 27th SOW at CAFB, and the first black Wing Commander in the 33-year history of the Air Force Special Operations Command.
“I couldn’t be more proud of our crews and the work that they’ve done,” Colonel Taylor said. “As the commander, really, that translates is number one servant, right, I need to be able to provide for all of these airmen and their families. So that’s, that’s job number one for me.”
Born and raised in Warsaw, Virginia, coming to a small city like Clovis was no problem for him.
“I grew up with, with 48 other people in my kindergarten class, and those same 48 or so graduated with me and in 12th grade,” he said.
With a father, sister, and brother who served in the Army, service, and leadership came naturally to Colonel Taylor, he just chose a different path.
“I was a young kid in the 80s, and during that time, there was a lot of talk about space exploration and space travel and those kinds of things, and you could watch the shuttle launches on, you know, on the three major channels back then. So that certainly influenced me and I still remember vividly the Challenger explosion,” he recalled.
Whether it was the stars or the skies, he knew he was reaching new heights.
“It was the time the era of Top Gun the first one, so that you know, that those types of things excited me, and I knew that I had an interest in flight and technology and maybe even space exploration. For a while there I thought about trying to be an astronaut,” he told KAMR’s Roushell Hamilton Jr.
Ultimately, he decided on the Air Force.
In his 25-year military career, the colonel’s done everything from being a Command Pilot to serving in the State Department’s Counterterrorism Bureau to Special Operations Command in the FBI, to being a father and a husband.
“I look back on it and thinking about, you know, the opportunities that this this this career this life has given me it’s been, it’s been great. I couldn’t ask for anything better. But there’s no way that I could have predicted it or anticipated it at all,” he said glowingly.
Col. Taylor said when he joined the Air Force in 1997, he anticipated living the military life as he saw his siblings do it.
But then, the terrorist attacks on September 11th, 2001 happened and changed the world forever.
“I was in my first assignment, as a Co-pilot there at Hurlburt Field (in Mary Ester, Florida), and that event, as it did for many, it defined so much of what was to come for me,” he explained.
But through the heights of his awards and accolades, he realizes the significance of the path he’s walking.
“It’s not lost on me that, you know, as a minority, as an African-American, this is a bit of a trailblazing, and it is a first, and I’ll tell you that, you know, the times that it is most apparent to me, from time to time, I’ll get a young airman come up to me and just say, you know, sir, it’s good to see you in this position.
“The power of statements like that, and the reminder that that provides, again, you know, use the word humbling, but, but it truly is. When you can see somebody that you can, you can relate to whether it’s either through ethnic background, or gender, or upbringing or any of these things, you subconsciously knock down those barriers,” he told us.
It’s a message that’s more than skin deep.
Colonel Taylor’s assignment at CAFB is winding down. He told us he and his family will be heading out on a new assignment this summer.
He told us that one of the most exciting parts of his career is the ability to take different strategies and approaches from a variety of experiences, and form comprehensive solutions.
Catch the full interview with Colonel Terence Taylor below.