WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS), will soon have a new Chancellor. Father Robert R. Cannon, Ch, Col, USAF, a priest of the Diocese of Venice, Fla., and currently the Wing Chaplain at Travis Air Force Base (AFB), Calif., assumes the position Oct. 1. He replaces Deacon Michael Yakir, who is retiring after seven years as Chancellor following a long career in business.
His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services, announced the appointment of Father Cannon today at the Edwin Cardinal O’Brien Pastoral Center.
Archbishop Broglio said:
“The Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, owes a great debt of gratitude to Deacon Michael Yakir for his selfless commitment to ministry as the Chancellor. He has demonstrated a great willingness to be at the service of priests and faithful. I am very grateful to Bishop Frank Dewane who has released Father Cannon for service at the new AMS Chancellor. Father Cannon is a proven, kind pastor. His knowledge of Canon Law and his gentle spirit will be an asset to an important role. I look forward to his collaboration.”
As Chancellor, Father Cannon will serve as the primary archdiocesan contact for Catholic U.S. Military chaplains based worldwide. His responsibilities will include evaluating chaplains’ quarterly reports, finding new chaplains from the ranks of ordained Catholic priests, and processing endorsement and faculties for those entering military service for the first time. The 30-year Air Force veteran brings a wealth of experience, education, and spirituality to the task.
“In the military, we call it tactical perspective,” Father Cannon said. “Being able to be responsive pastorally to our priests and other military members, to offer that care and concern and understanding of the situation they’re dealing with can get really complicated, especially with lots of moving parts and being in different parts of the world. To offer good pastoral care as an expression of the Archbishop’s apostolic mission is critical. So Deacon Michael Yakir has just been wonderful in his position as Chancellor and if I can do nearly as good a job as he did, then we’ll be doing what we need to do.”
Father Cannon was ordained on May 13, 1978 in his home diocese of Venice, Fla. He was commissioned as a chaplain in the U.S. Air Force Reserves in 1986 in Rome, Italy. At the request of the Air Force Chief of Chaplains, he began staffing assistance tours in 2003 and extended active duty in 2010. He has served in multiple roles as both a staff chaplain and a Wing Chaplain.
Father Cannon served at Aviano Air Base (AB) from 1986 to 1990; MacDill Air Force Base (AFB), Fla., from 1990 to 1993; the U.S. Air Force Academy from 1993 to 1997; the Readiness and Mobility Division, Air Combat Command, Langley, Va., from 1997 to 2001; the Office of the Chief of Chaplains at Bolling AFB in Washington, D.C., from 2001 to 2009; Scott, AFB, Ill., from 2009 to 2010; and Shaw AFB, S.C., from 2010 to 2011. He has served as Wing Chaplain at Travis AFB since March, 2011.
For his service as the Joint Area Support Command Chaplain (JASG-C), Baghdad, Iraq, Chaplain Cannon was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. His other military decorations include: the Meritorious Service Medal with five oak leaf clusters, the Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Army Commendation Medal, the Navy Achievement Medal, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, the Meritorious Unit Award with one oak cluster, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with three oak clusters, the National Defense Service Medal with one bronze star, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with one oak cluster, the Air Force Longevity Ribbon with three oak leaf clusters, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with “M” device, and the AF Training Ribbon.
A graduate of both the Squadron Officer School (1996) and the Air War College (2007), Father Cannon earned his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy in 1974 from St. Vincent De Paul Seminary in Boynton Beach, Fla. He holds four (4) master’s degrees: A Master of Education in Guidance/Counseling from Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, Fla. (1977); a Master of Divinity from St. Vincent De Paul Major Seminary, Boynton Beach, Fla. (1977); a Master of Theology, also from St. Vincent De Paul Major Seminary (1978); and a Master of Arts in Urban Anthropology from the University of South Florida, Tampa (1986). Father Cannon holds a License in Canon Law and a Diploma of Specialization in Jurisprudence from Gregorian University in Rome, where he is now a Doctoral Candidate in Canon Law.
In civilian life, Father Cannon served as Parochial Vicar at St. Cecelia Catholic Church in Clearwater, Fla., from 1978 to 1979; School Pastor at Cardinal Mooney High School in Sarasota, Fla., from 1979 to 1984; Dean of Students and Adjunct Professor of Social Sciences at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami, Fla., from 1984 to 1986; Judicial Vicar for the Diocese of Venice, Fla., from 1990 to 2002; and Rector of Epiphany Cathedral in Venice, Fla., from 1999 to 2003.
Of the next stage in his priestly journey—taking over as Chancellor of the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA—Father Cannon said:
“I just want to serve those who are serving their country in any way that I can. Other than that, I don’t have an agenda. It’s just, keep taking care of those who are defending our freedoms at great personal sacrifice.”