|Tinker Air Force Base
|Tinker AFB, February 20, 1995|
|IATA: TIK – ICAO: KTIK|
|Operator||United States Air Force|
|Location||Oklahoma City, Oklahoma|
|Elevation AMSL||1,291 ft / 393.5 m|
Tinker Air Force Base (IATA: TIK, ICAO: KTIK) is a major U.S. Air Force base located in the southeast Oklahoma City area, directly south of the suburb of Midwest City, Oklahoma. The base is named in honor of Oklahoma native Major General Clarence L. Tinker, the first Native American Major General. 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. 9 square miles (23 km2) and has 760 buildings with a building floor space of over 15,200,000 square feet (1,410,000 m2). The base is bounded by I-40 on the north and I-240 on the south.
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 Navy's Strategic Communications Wing One (TACAMO), a Navy Air Wing which is fully integrated in 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.
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 GM Oklahoma City Assembly plant (located adjacent to the base) and lease it to Tinker for future expansion.
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:
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 gaied 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 four 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 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 colocated 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.
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 November 21, 1946 at Norman, Oklahoma and receiving its Federal recognition on December 18, 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 September 6, 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 Sabre Jet. 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.
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 EC-18F aircraft bailed from USAF in a third 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:
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 June 7, 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 January 13, 1948.
Community support for Tinker is expressed by the establishment of two public/private partnerships that support base operations.
The first of the public/private partnerships is The Oklahoma Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul Technology Center (MROTC), managed by Battelle Oklahoma, owned by Oklahoma Industries Authority (OIA), and partners with the Department of Defense to provide a national center for technical solutions to aging commercial and military aircraft. The MROTC () is a 370-acre (1.5 km2) 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 hangers, one leased by Boeing (designed to accommodiate Boeing 767-400 class aircraft), a second hanger for 767 for lease, and a third hanger designed to accommodate Boeing 707-300 class aircraft.
The second of the public/private partnerships is the "Tinker Aerospace Complex"  (sometimes called TAC or Building 9001) housed in a former General Motors 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 3.8 million square foot (353,000 m²) facility and 407-acre (1.65 km2). Previously, the largest single building at the base was Building 3001 at 2.5 million square feet. 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. Private contractors may lease space in the Complex, as needed for military contracts. . The Tinker security perimeter will be extended around the plant. 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 1940, the War Department was considering the central United States as a location for a supply and maintenance depot. Oklahoma City leaders offered a 480-acre (1.9 km2) site and acquired an option for 960 acres (3.9 km2) additional land. On April 8, 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 March 25, 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 November 14, 1984, a massive fire that burned for two days destroyed or damaged over 700,000 square feet (65,000 m2) 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 the late 1990s 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  was the first Navy Air Wing fully integrated on an Air Force base, carrying out a Navy mission in joint operations.
On May 3, 1999, a deadly tornado caused extensive damage to the northwest corner of the base and surrounding communities. For many days afterwards, Tinker personnel helped by providing shelters, search and rescue, and clean-up efforts.
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 hangers were completed in 2007.
On May 13, 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 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 m²) 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.
Several transformational efforts are under work at Tinker AFB, including 5S, 6 Sigma, Lean, and Balanced Score Card.
This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency. 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: