McChord leadership honor loadmaster legend

By Senior Airman Jacob Jimenez, 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs on September 1, 2017

A rare honor was bestowed on a prior McChord airman and his family during a street renaming ceremony Aug. 19 at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. 

The ceremony unveiled McChord Field's  newly renamed street Chief Master Sgt. William M. Cannon Blvd., previously 5th St. NE on Heritage Hill.

The late Cannon was a retired McChord loadmaster who was a Distinguished Flying Cross recipient and made immense contributions to the loadmaster community and the development of the C-17 Globemaster III.          

"Chief Master Sgt. Bill Cannon was a seasoned aviator, gifted leader and the ‘father of the C-17 loadmaster,'" said Col. Reba Sonkiss, 62nd Airlift Wing commander. "This street, now to be called Chief Master Sgt. William M. Cannon Boulevard, recognizes the contributions of a man who dedicated his entire life and career in service to our great nation and our Air Force."

Serving more than 30 years in the Air Force, Cannon held more than 16,600 flying hours in the C-54, C-24, C-130 and C-141 aircraft, Sonkiss noted. He also served in Vietnam where he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross.

"When you think back to the incredible history of airlift here at McChord, it really puts into perspective the accomplishments and contributions of incredible airmen like Chief Cannon," said Sonkiss. "We can only hope to make him proud in the future as we set out on our own paths."

After retiring as the chief loadmaster at McChord, Cannon was the chief loadmaster of the C-17 flight test program. He also founded the Airlift Tanker Association and the Professional Loadmaster Association.

"Chief Cannon was a great leader, an inspiration to look up to and his dedication to service and others was beyond reproach," said Dan Watson, friend of Cannon. "He was an amazing man and the renaming of the street is befitting of his service to all loadmasters past, present and future."

Chief Master Sgt. William M. Cannon Blvd. joins those of the distinguished streets and buildings on McChord Field named after airmen who've made great contributions to the Air Force.     

"Chief Cannon left behind an undeniable legacy of service and excellence that paved the way for our current mobility Air Force," said Sonkiss. "This renaming honors the trail that he blazed for the C-17 community, the 62nd Airlift Wing, and the United States Air Force."