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Tinker Air Force Base

Tinker Air Force Base is a major U.S. Air Force base, with tenant U.S. Navy and other Department of Defense missions, located in the southeast Oklahoma City, Oklahoma area, directly south of the suburb of Midwest City, Oklahoma.

Contents


Overview

The base is named in honor of Oklahoma native Major General Clarence L. Tinker, the first Native American Major General.

Tinker is the headquarters of the Air Force Materiel Command's (AFMC) Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center (OC-ALC), which is the worldwide manager for a wide range of aircraft, engines, missiles, software and avionics and accessories components. The commander of OC-ALC is Major General P. David Gillett, Jr. It is one of three Air Force ALCs, the others being Ogden Air Logistics Center (OO-ALC) at Hill AFB, Utah and Warner Robins Air Logistics Center (WR-ALC) at Robins AFB, Georgia.

The host unit at Tinker is the 72d Air Base Wing (72 ABW) which provides services and support for the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center and its tenant organizations. The Wing and Installation Commander of Tinker Air Force Base is Colonel Allen Jamerson.

Tinker is also the home of the U.S. Navy's Strategic Communications Wing One (TACAMO). Also known as STRATCOMWINGONE, this origanization is a shore-based Navy Air Wing consisting of three squadrons and a wing staff which is fully integrated into the Air Force Base, and employs over 1,300 active-duty sailors and 100 contractors to provide maintenance, security, operations, administration, training and logistic support for the Navy's E-6B Mercury aircraft fleet. The Mercury aircraft enables the President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense to directly contact submarines, bombers and missile silos enforcing the country's national security through nuclear deterrence.

Units currently stationed at Tinker

Major units

Tinker AFB is home to major Department of Defense, Air Force and Navy activities with critical national defense missions.

  • Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center (OC-ALC)
    OC-ALC is the largest of three ALCs in the Air Force Materiel Command and provides depot maintenance, product support, services and supply chain management, as well as information support for 31 weapon systems, 10 commands, 93 Air Force bases and 46 foreign nations. It is the contracting office for the USAF's Contract Field Teams program.
  • 72d Air Base Wing (72 ABW)
    The diverse, multi-unit, multi-mission wing includes base services and support for the OC-ALC and associate organizations as well as dependents and retirees.
    • 72d Medical Group (MDG)
    • 72d Mission Support Group (MSG)
  • 76th Maintenance Wing (MXW)
    • 76 Aircraft Maintenance Group (AMXG)
    • 76 Propulsion Maintenance Group (PMXG)
    • 76 Commodities Maintenance Group (CMXG)
    • 76 Software Maintenance Group (SMXG)
    • 76 Maintenance Support Group (MXSG)
  • Aerospace Sustainment Directorate (OC-ALC/GK) formally the 327th Aircraft Sustainment Wing

Tenant units

552d Air Control Wing

The 552d Air Control Wing (ACW, ACC, Tail Code: "OK") flies Air Combat Command's E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft. The E-3's radar and other sensors provide deep-look surveillance, warning, interception control and airborne battle management. The 552 ACW encompasses 3 groups:

507th Air Refueling Wing

The 507th Air Refueling Wing (507 ARW) of the Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) is one of two Air Force Reserve flying units in the state of Oklahoma. The 507 ARW is operationally gained by Air Mobility Command (AMC), but normally reports to Fourth Air Force (4 AF) and supports AMC's airlift and air refueling requirements.

The 507th consists of three subordinate groups, 15 squadrons and five flights, employing approximately 1,155 men and women. Approximately 184 members of the 507th are Air Reserve Technicians (ARTs) who serve as a full-time support cadre along with 20 traditional civilian employees. Approximately 350 additional reservists serve with the 931st Air Refueling Group (931 ARG), a subordinate unit of the 507 ARW, that provides direct support to the Air Mobility Command's 22d Air Refueling Wing at McConnell AFB, Kansas.

The 507 ARW operates (12) twelve KC-135R "Stratotanker" air refueling aircraft at Tinker and works together with the Oklahoma Air National Guard's 137th Air Refueling Wing (137 ARW), also co-located at Tinker. As an associate unit, the 507 ARW also operates the Federal Aviation Administration's FAA's British Aerospace Hawker 125-800 aircraft (ex-USAF C-29A) in the aviation standards and navigational aid inspection mission.[1]

137th Air Refueling Wing

The 137th Air Refueling Wing (137 ARW) flies the KC-135R in conjunction with the 507th Air Refueling Wing, having assumed an aerial refueling mission in 2008. The 137 ARW traces its origins to the 137th Fighter Group, founded on 21 November 1946 at Norman, Oklahoma and receiving its Federal recognition on 18 December 1947. In April 1949, a tornado struck the base at Norman. The damage was considered too extensive for economical repair and the decision was made to move the 137th to the present facility at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City. An Air National Guard Station (AGS) was constructed and the move accomplished on 6 September 1949.

The 137th began as the 185th Fighter Squadron, with the P-51 Mustang. Afterwards, a variety of aircraft have been assigned to the wing, including the F-80 Shooting Star and F-86 Sabrejet. Subsequently renamed as a Troop Carrier Group, Tactical Airlift Group, Airlift Group and Airlift Wing, the 137th later flew the C-97 Stratocruiser, C-124 Globemaster, and C-130 Hercules, having flown the latter from 1974 to 2007. Its previous C-130H models replaced older versions of the Hercules and were received directly from the factory, becoming the first ANG unit to receive brand new aircraft.

In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD recommended to realign Will Rogers AGS by relocating the 137th Airlift Wing (ANG) to Tinker AFB, redesignating it as an air refueling wing and associating it with the Air Force Reserve's 507th Air Refueling Wing while redistributing its C-130H aircraft to other ANG airlift wings.

STRATCOM Wing ONE (US NAVY)

Strategic Communications (STRATCOM) Wing ONE is a unique U.S. Navy aviation unit. STRATCOMWING ONE provides a vital, secure communications link designed to be used in the event of nuclear war or other major conflict or incident in order to maintain communications between the decision makers comprising the National Command Authority (NCA) and the triad of US strategic nuclear weapon delivery systems, i.e., manned bombers, land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs). Also known as the TACAMO mission for "Take Charge and Move Out," STRATCOMWING ONE operates the Navy's E-6 Mercury aircraft in two operational squadrons and one training squadron.

STRATCOMWING ONE's primary mission is to receive, verify and retransmit Emergency Action Messages (EAMs) to US strategic forces. With the retirement of the USAF EC-135 Looking Glass airframe, E-6 Mercury upgraded with the Airborne Launch Control System (ALCS) have also assumed the airborne command post mission for the United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM). OC-ALC airframe artisans perform depot work on the Navy's E-6 Mercury aircraft, which are based on the Boeing 707 airframe. The wing's Navy sailors perform organizational and field level maintenance work, with the former being integrated at the flying squadron level while the latter is performed at the wing's aircraft intermediate maintenance department (AIMD) level. The wing also operates alert facilities for E-6B aircraft at Travis AFB, California and Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. STRATCOMWING ONE's subordinate squadrons include:

  • Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron THREE (VQ-3) (E-6B)
  • Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron FOUR (VQ-4) (E-6B)
  • Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron SEVEN (VQ-7)

Smaller Units

  • The 38th Cyberspace Engineering Group (AFSPC), has worldwide responsibility for engineering, installation, and interoperability of all communications and electronic facilities for the Air Force.
  • The 3rd Combat Communications Group (AFSPC), with the motto "Anytime, Anywhere... Hooah", provides deployable communications, computer systems, navigational aids and air traffic control services anywhere in the world. On March 6, 2012, AFSPC announced that the 3rd Combat Communications Group would be inactivated as a part of Air Force force structuring changes.[2]

The "35th Combat Communications Squadron" is part of the 507th. While a member of the 507th, the 35th is AFSPC gained through the 3rd.

  • Defense Mega Center Oklahoma City is the local branch of the Defense Information Systems Agency. The Mega center operates computer systems for the base and serves 110 other bases in 46 states.
  • Defense Distribution Depot Oklahoma provides the receipt, storage, issue, inspection and shipment of material, including material quality control, preservation and packaging, inventory, transportation functions and pick up and delivery services in support of OC-ALC and other Tinker-based organizations.

Public/Private Partnerships

Community support for Tinker can be seen by the establishment of two public/private partnerships that support base operations by using local dollars to make available additional facilities for base use. While these partnerships are technically separate facilities, Tinker's security perimeter is extended around these facilities.

Maintenance Repair & Overhaul Technology Center (MROTC)

The first of the public/private partnerships is The Oklahoma Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul Technology Center (MROTC),[3] managed by Battelle Oklahoma, owned by Oklahoma Industries Authority (OIA),[4] and partners with the Department of Defense to provide a national center for technical solutions to aging commercial and military aircraft. The MROTC[5] is a world-class MRO facility, on the south east site of Tinker AFB, sharing runways and security with the base. The MROTC complex is planned as a major military and commercial aircraft facility with 17 hangars and more than one million square feet of related industrial space and education and training facilities. The facility currently houses three hangars, one leased by Boeing (designed to accommodiate Boeing 767-400 class aircraft), a second hangar for 767 for lease, and a third hangar designed to accommodate Boeing 707-300 class aircraft.[6]

Building 9001 (Tinker Aerospace Complex)

The second of the public/private partnerships is building 9001, originally known as the Tinker Aerospace Complex[7] (sometimes called TAC) housed in the former General Motors Oklahoma City Assembly Plant located west of the runway on the south side of the base, north of I-240. A 50 year lease-purchase agreement was executed in September 2008 between Oklahoma County and the Air Force, covering the 2.5 million square foot (353,000 m ) facility and . Previously, the largest single building at the base was Building 3001 at . Tinker has leased about 4/5 of the facility and will host some current 76th Maintenance Wing operations as well as other Department of Defense missions, including work on the C-17 engines, joint strike fighter engines and core work on the new KC-45 tanker. Work being transferred to the Complex is currently being done at 69 separate facilities on base, many of which are World War II-era temporary buildings located in runway clear zones. Burlington Northern Santa Fe provides a rail spur into the Complex. Modifications to convert the building from auto assembly to aircraft maintenance is expected to be completed sometime after 2013.

In addition to providing space for the work of the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center, the Tinker Aerospace Complex can also be used to house public/private business partnerships. Currently there are three programs:

1) Cooperative Research and Development Partnership - objective is to advance science and technology to meet Air Force requirements and transfer of technology into commercial marketplace (CRADA, governed by Title 15 USC 3710a.[8])

2) Public Private Partnerships (or Statutory Partnering) where the government acts as a seller to private industry in either a Direct Sales, or Workshare Partnering Agreement, or a Facilities Use Agreement (governed by Title 10 USC 2474.[9])

3) Enhanced Use Lease which Requires Congressional approval and full fair market value rent (governed by 10 USC 2667[10] for underutilized AF assets.)

History

Tinker Air Force Base is named in honor of Major General Clarence L. Tinker (1887 1942). From Pawhuska, Oklahoma and part Osage Indian, General Tinker received his wings in 1921. General Tinker was a graduate of Wentworth Military Academy who went on to become the first Major General of American Indian descent in U.S. Army history.

In 1926 he was awarded the Soldiers Medal for returning to his blazing aircraft to rescue a fellow officer. On 7 June 1942, he led a flight of B-24 Liberators on a long-range strike against Japanese forces on Wake Island during World War II. General Tinker was killed when his aircraft presumably crashed into the sea. At the time of his death, General Tinker was commander of the Hawaii-based Seventh Air Force.

The base was renamed in his honor on 13 January 1948.

Several of the base's access gates are named in honor of persons with historic ties to the base or to Oklahoma. On 9 May 1997, base officials[11] placed the following names:

  • Tinker Gate (former Gate 1), located on the north side, opens onto Air Depot Boulevard. It was named for Major General Clarence L. Tinker, U.S. Army Air Forces general killed in World War II
  • Eaker Gate (former Gate 2) opens onto F Avenue. It was named for General Ira C. Eaker, commander of the US Eighth Air Force in Europe during World War II
  • Turnbull Gate, at the intersection of Perimeter Road and A Avenue. It was named for Colonel William Turnbull, the first Tinker Air Logistics Center Commander (1942)
  • Hruskocy Gate (pronounced ruh-sko-see, former Gate 7),[12] on Industrial Boulevard at the NE portion of base. It was named for Brigadier General Thomas C. Hruskocy, the OC-ALC chief of Maintenance Resource Management and Material Management Resource divisions at Tinker (1985 1988)
  • Hope Gate, on SE 59th Street. It was named for Colonel John W. Hope, the first commander of the Ground Electronics-Engineering Installation Agency (GEEIA)
  • Gott Gate (former Gate 34), on the south end of Air Depot Boulevard. It was named for 1st Lieutenant Donald J. Gott, posthumous Medal of Honor recipient in World War II.
  • Vance Gate (former Gate 40), on the west side of base off Sooner Road. It was named Lieutenant Colonel Leon R. Vance, Jr, posthumous Medal of Honor recipient in World War II.

In May 1997 the Base[13] named the gates along Douglas Boulevard after aircraft that had been maintained at Tinker:

The base has more than 26,000 military and civilian employees and is the largest single-site employer in the state of Oklahoma. The installation covers approx. and has 760 buildings with a building floor space of over . The base is bounded by I-40 on the north and I-240 on the south.

With the City of Oklahoma City and Oklahoma County owning several square miles of land adjacent to the base, Tinker is one of the few military bases in a major metropolitan area with sufficient room for expansion. Furthermore, Tinker is located in a community that supports expansion; Oklahoma County voters approved a 2008 measure to purchase the former General Motors Oklahoma City Assembly plant (located adjacent to the base) and lease it to Tinker for future expansion. Now known as Building 9001, the former GM plant houses many shops moved from the main maintenance building, 3001.[14]

Operational history

In 1940 the War Department was considering the central United States as a location for a supply and maintenance depot. Oklahoma City leaders offered a site and acquired an option for additional land. On 8 April 1941, the order was officially signed awarding the depot to Oklahoma City.

Tinker Field was the site of a Douglas Aircraft factory producing approximately half of the C-47 Skytrains used in World War II. The site also produced a number of A-20 Havocs. Production ceased in 1945.

The first successful tornado forecast in history was issued on 25 March 1948 from Tinker, about three hours before the tornado hit the southeast corner of the base. A granite marker in the Heritage Airpark on the base commemorates the event. See 1948 Tinker Air Force Base tornadoes for more information.

On 29 September 1957, Buddy Holly and The Crickets recorded "An Empty Cup", "Rock Me My Baby", "You've Got Love", and "Maybe Baby" in the Tinker Air Force Base Officer's Club.[15]

On 14 November 1984, a massive fire that burned for two days destroyed or damaged over in the Air Logistics Center, Building 3001. The resulting repairs cost $63.5 million.

During much of the 1990s, Tinker was home to the Automated Weather Network switching facility, which consolidated all U.S. military weather data worldwide. Originally located at Carswell Air Force Base, this unit was later moved to an Air Force Weather Agency facility at Offutt Air Force Base.

In May 1992, Tinker became home to the Navy's "Take Charge and Move Out" (TACAMO) wing, which provides maintenance, security, operations, administration, training and logistic support for the Navy's E-6B Mercury aircraft fleet. TACAMO[16] was the first Navy Air Wing fully integrated on an Air Force base, carrying out a Navy mission in joint operations.

On 3 May 1999, a deadly tornado caused extensive damage to the northwest corner of the base and surrounding communities.[17] For many days afterwards, Tinker personnel helped by providing shelters, search and rescue, and clean-up efforts.

In July 2005, Tinker hosted the US Air Force Thunderbirds as part of their Star Spangled Salute, the base's annual Independence Day celebration.

The Oklahoma Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul Technology Center (MROTC), a public-private partnership, was started in 2003. MROTC is managed by Battelle Oklahoma and owned by Oklahoma Industries Authority (OIA), a public trust housed in the offices of the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. The first hangars were completed in 2007.

Tinker celebrated the 30-year anniversary of the E-3 Sentry from 29 June to 1 July 2007. Past and present airmen were invited to swap stories and learn about the latest upgrades.[18]

On 13 May 2008, Oklahoma County voters voted in favor of $71.5 million in general obligation bonds, the majority of which has been used to purchase the former General Motors Oklahoma City Assembly plant which is located on the south west section of the base, next to the runway. A 50-year lease-purchase agreement was executed in September 2008 between Oklahoma County and the Air Force, covering the 3.8 million square foot (353,000 m ) facility and surrounding acreage. Oklahoma County officials paid $55 million to buy the plant from General Motors, which is now called the Tinker Aerospace Complex.

Major commands

  • Air Service Comd, 1 March 1942 17 July 1944
  • AAF Materiel and Services, 17 July 1944 31 August 1944
  • AAF Technical Service Comd, 31 August 1944 1 July 1945
  • Air Technical Service Comd, 1 July 1945 9 March 1946
  • Air Materiel Comd, 9 March 1946 1 April 1961
  • Air Force Logistics Command, 1 April 1961 1 July 1992
  • Air Force Materiel Command, 1 July 1992 present

Base operating units

  • OCAD (Oklahoma City Air Depot) Liaison Staff, 1 March 1942 15 February 1943
  • 497th Base HQ and Base HQ Sq, 15 February 1943 1 April 1944
  • 4136th AAF Base Unit, 1 April 1944 26 September 1947
  • 4136th AF Base Unit, 26 September 1947 28 August 1948
  • 2919th Area Supply Gp, 28 August 1948 15 March 1951
  • 2944th Depot Training Wg, 15 March 1951 15 July 1953
  • 2854th Air Base Wg, 15 July 1953 16 October 1964
  • 2854th Air Base Gp, 16 October 1964 1 October 1994
  • 72 Air Base Wing, 1 October 1994 present

Major units assigned

See also

References

Other sources

  • Much of this text in an early version of this article was taken from pages on the Tinker Air Force Base Website, which as a work of the U.S. Government is presumed to be a public domain resource. That information was supplemented by:
  • Mueller, Robert (1989). Active Air Force Bases Within the United States of America on 17 September 1982. USAF Reference Series, Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-53-6
  • Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and Honors Histories 1947 1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.

External links


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