Tinker Air Force Base

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Tinker Air Force Base
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in the United States of America
An E-3B Sentry of the 552nd Air Control Wing based at Tinker AFB.
An E-3B Sentry of the 552nd Air Control Wing based at Tinker AFB.
Air Force Materiel Command.png
Tinker AFB is located in the United States
Tinker AFB
Tinker AFB
Location in United States
Coordinates35°24′53″N 097°23′12″W / 35.41472°N 97.38667°W / 35.41472; -97.38667Coordinates: 35°24′53″N 097°23′12″W / 35.41472°N 97.38667°W / 35.41472; -97.38667
TypeUS Air Force Base
Site information
OwnerDepartment of Defense
OperatorUS Air Force
Controlled byAir Force Materiel Command (AFMC)
Site history
Built1941 (1941) (as Midwest Air Depot)
In use1941 – present
Garrison information
Colonel Ralph E. Taylor Jr.
Airfield information
IdentifiersIATA: TIK, ICAO: KTIK, FAA LID: TIK, WMO: 723540
Elevation393.4 metres (1,291 ft) AMSL
Direction Length and surface
18/36 3,383.2 metres (11,100 ft) Porous European Mix
13/31 3,048 metres (10,000 ft) Porous European Mix
Source: Federal Aviation Administration[1]

Tinker Air Force Base (IATA: TIK, ICAO: KTIK, FAA LID: TIK) is a major United States Air Force base, with tenant U.S. Navy and other Department of Defense missions, located in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, surrounded by Del City, Oklahoma City, and Midwest City.

The base, originally known as the Midwest Air Depot, is named in honor of Oklahoma native Major General Clarence L. Tinker, the first Native American Major General.[2][3]

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 Air Force Sustainment Center (AFSC) is Lieutenant General Donald Kirkland and the commander of the OC-ALC is Brigadier General Christopher Hill. 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 Paul Filcek.[4]


Tinker Air Force Base is named in honor of Major General Clarence L. Tinker.[2] An Osage from Pawhuska, Oklahoma, he received his wings in 1921.[3] He was a graduate of Wentworth Military Academy who went on to become the first major general of Native American descent in U.S. Army history.[3]

In 1926 he was awarded the Soldier's 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.

Originally known as the Midwest Air Depot, the base was renamed in Tinker's honor on 13 January 1948.[2]

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[5] 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),[6] 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[7] 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. 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).[citation needed] 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.[8]

Operational history[edit]

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 8 April 1941, the order was officially signed awarding the depot to Oklahoma City. The Midwest Air Depot was formally activated later in 1941.

The depot 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 a tornado hit the southeast corner of the base. A granite marker in the Heritage Airpark on the base commemorates the event.

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.[9]

On 14 November 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 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[10] 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.[11] 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 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.[12]

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 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.

In 2015, it was announced that the Tinker was in the running for a squadron of the new KC-46A Pegasus. In October, it was announced that the base would not be receiving the plane, which instead was given to the 916th Air Refueling Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. Tinker was also in competition with Westover Air Reserve Base and Grissom Air Reserve Base for the plane.[13]

25 March 1948 Tornadoes[edit]

Superfortresses tossed about like toys at Tinker Air Force Base by the 20 March tornado.
Damage to airplanes and cars from the 25 March tornado at Tinker Air Force Base.

Two large tornadoes strike Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, damaging or destroying a large number of aircraft including at least two Douglas C-54 Skymasters, a Douglas C-47 Skytrain, and many Boeing B-29 Superfortresses stored from World War II. In the first storm, "54 aircraft were destroyed, including 17 C-54 transports valued at $500,000 apiece. Also destroyed were 15 P-47 fighters and two B-29 bombers. About 50 other planes were damaged and about 100 vehicles were damaged or destroyed." In the second tornado, "84 planes were hit, 35 of which were destroyed. These included 18 B-29s, 8 P-47s, 20 B-17s, and 3 C-47s. Hangars and other buildings were destroyed."[14] Other types destroyed included Beechcraft AT-11s and Fairchild PT-19s and PT-26 Cornells. Damage from the second tornado was estimated at $6,100,000. Total damages for both storms was estimated at $16,350,000.[15]

Major commands[edit]

  • 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[edit]

  • 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[edit]

Role and operations[edit]

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

Air Force and related entities[edit]

The Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex is the largest air logistics center in the Air Force Materiel Command. It provides depot maintenance, product support, services and supply chain management, and information support for 31 weapon systems, 10 commands, 93 Air Force bases and 46 foreign nations. It is the contracting office for the Air Force's Contract Field Teams program.

The Air Logistics Complex includes the 76 Aircraft Maintenance Group, the 76 Propulsion Maintenance Group, the 76 Commodities Maintenance Group, the 76 Software Engineering Group and the 76 Maintenance Support Group. Combined, these groups provide depot-level maintenance, repair and overhaul of KC-135, B-52, E-3, E-6, and B-1 aircraft, as well as engines, components, support equipment, and associated software for the US Air Force and US Navy.

The 72d Air Base Wing is a multi-unit, multi-mission wing that includes base services and support for the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center, associate organizations, dependents, and retirees.

The 38th Cyberspace Engineering Group, Air Force Space Command, has worldwide responsibility for engineering, installation, and interoperability of all communications and electronic facilities for the Air Force.

Oklahoma Wing Civil Air Patrol Headquarters is located at the base ops building and provides state level support to the 17 units across the state. The Flying Castle Composite Squadron is a Civil Air Patrol squadron that is composed of cadet and senior members that meet Tuesday evenings.

The 552d Air Control Wing 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: 552d Operations Group, 552d Maintenance Group and 552d Air Control Group.

The 507th Air Refueling Wing of the Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) is one of two Air Force Reserve flying units in the state of Oklahoma and administratively reports to Fourth Air Force (4 AF). The wing operates twelve KC-135R "Stratotanker" air refueling aircraft at Tinker and is operationally gained by Air Mobility Command (AMC). As an associate unit, the 507 ARW also operates the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) British Aerospace 125-800 aircraft (ex-USAF C-29A) in the aviation standards and navigational aid inspection mission.[16]

Navy and other defense agencies[edit]

The United States Navy's Strategic Communications Wing One consists of three squadrons and a wing staff, and employs over 1,300 active-duty sailors and 100 contractors to provide maintenance, security, operations, administration, training and logistic support for the E-6 Mercury aircraft fleet. The E-6B Mercury 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. The wing also operates alert facilities for E-6B aircraft at Travis AFB, California and Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.

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.

Tinker has on base several offices of the Defense Logistics Agency, the agency that provides supplies to the military services and supports their acquisition and transportation of repair parts and other materials.[18]

  • DLA Aviation has two offices at Tinker Air Force Base, DLA Aviation Customer Operations commanded by COL Rex Adee, USAF, and DLA Strategic Acquisitions at Tinker AFB, under Frances Evans, Acting Director, DLR Procurement Operations.
  • DLA Distribution Oklahoma City 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 the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center, other tenants at Tinker Air Force Base, and other global customers.[19] Support to the Air Logistics Center is primarily for programmed depot maintenance for aircraft and engines. The majority of the items shipped from Oklahoma City are destined for "customers" on base including the 552nd Air Control Wing, the U.S. Navy Strategic Communications Wing One, the 507th Air Refueling Wing and the 3rd Combat Communications Group.
  • DLA Document Services provides a full portfolio of document services including traditional offset printing, on-demand printing, and online document services. DLA Document Services locations in Oklahoma include Fort Sill in Lawton, Oklahoma, the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, and Tinker AFB.[20]

Public/private partnerships[edit]

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 and Overhaul Technology Center (MROTC)[edit]

The first of the public/private partnerships is The Oklahoma Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul Technology Center (MROTC),[21] managed by Battelle Oklahoma, owned by Oklahoma Industries Authority (OIA),[22] and partners with the Department of Defense to provide a national center for technical solutions[clarification needed] to aging commercial and military aircraft. The MROTC[23] is a 370-acre (1.5 km2) 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 accommodate Boeing 767-400 class aircraft), a second hangar for 767 for lease, and a third hangar designed to accommodate Boeing 707-300 class aircraft.[24]

Building 9001 (Tinker Aerospace Complex)[edit]

The second of the public-private partnerships is Building 9001, originally known as the Tinker Aerospace Complex[25] 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 m²) facility and 407-acre (1.65 km2). Previously, the largest single building at the base was Building 3001 at 1,300,000 square feet (120,000 m2). 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-46 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.

In 2014 Oklahoma County agreed to issue $10 million in bonds to help finance the purchase of a 156-acre (0.63 km2) BNSF Railway marshaling yard, just north of the TAC building.[26]

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. The Cooperative Research and Development Partnership has the objective of advancing science and technology to meet Air Force requirements and transferring technology into the commercial marketplace (CRADA, governed by Title 15 USC 3710a).[27] Public Private Partnerships, or statutory partnering, is where the government acts as a seller to private industry in either a direct sales agreement, Workshare Partnering Agreement, or a Facilities Use Agreement (governed by Title 10 USC 2474).[28] Finally, the Enhanced Use Lease requires Congressional approval and full fair market value rent for underutilized Air Force assets(governed by 10 USC 2667).[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Airport Diagram – Tinker AFB (KTIF)" (PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. 10 October 2019. Retrieved 18 OCtober 2019. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. ^ a b c Crowder, James. " It is the largest air depot in the nation. TINKER AIR FORCE BASE," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. (accessed 18 August 2013)
  3. ^ a b c May, Jon D. "TINKER, CLARENCE LEONARD (1887–1942) Archived 7 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. (accessed 18 August 2013)
  4. ^ O'Brien, Brandice J. "Tinker welcomes new 72nd ABW, installation commander," TAFB, 3 July 2013. (accessed 17 April 2014)
  5. ^ They were acting under authority of Air Force Instruction 36-3108, Memorialization Program and Ceremony
  6. ^ "Taking a Look at the Names behind Tinker" (PDF). turnbullclan.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  7. ^ AF Instruction 36-3108 does not address protocol for memorializing equipment, thus 72nd Air Base Wing Commander Col. Robert L. Smolen was acting "on the discretion of the commander"
  8. ^ "Okla. County Voters Approve Plant Purchase – Oklahoma City News Story – KOCO Oklahoma City". Koco.com. 13 May 2008. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
  9. ^ "Maybe Baby – Buddy Holly Lives! 2002". YouTube. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
  10. ^ "TACAMO – TAke Charge And Move Out". Tacamo.navy.mil. 12 June 1981. Archived from the original on 16 March 2012. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
  11. ^ NCEI. "Storm Events Database - Event Details - National Centers for Environmental Information". www.ncdc.noaa.gov. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  12. ^ "Airmen honor 30 years of AWACS". af.mil. 21 July 2012. Archived from the original on 21 July 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  13. ^ Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs (29 October 2015). "Seymour-Johnson chosen for first Reserve-led KC-46A basing". Air Force Reserve Command. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
  14. ^ "Table of Tornadoes Which Have Occurred in the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Area Since 1890". noaa.gov. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  15. ^ Campbell, John M., "American Bomber Aircraft Vol. II: Boeing B-29 Superfortress", Schiffer Publishing Ltd., Atglen, Pennsylvania, 1997, Library of Congress Card Number 97-66913, ISBN 0-7643-0272-8, pages 220–221.
  16. ^ John Pike (1 June 1998). "C-29A". Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
  17. ^ https://www.137sow.ang.af.mil/
  18. ^ Defense Logistics Agency downloaded 18 December 2012
  19. ^ DLA Distribution Oklahoma City
  20. ^ http://www.documentservices.dla.mil/dexd/Locations.jsp?state=OK
  21. ^ "MROTC, Boeing Agreement Finalized; New Development Taking Flight " Commerce " Oklahoma Department of Commerce". Okcommerce.gov. 12 January 2006. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
  22. ^ "Battelle News". Battelle.org. 4 August 2003. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
  23. ^ "Eastern Oklahoma County MRO and Aerospace Partnership". Aeroeoc.com. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
  24. ^ http://www.gisplanning.net/photos/okcity/MROTC%20Boeing%20Flyer.pdf
  25. ^ "Tinker Air Force Base – TAC". Tinker.af.mil. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
  26. ^ William Crum (26 June 2014). "Oklahoma County approves Tinker Aerospace Complex bonds". Daily Oklahoman. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  27. ^ "15 USC § 3710a – Cooperative research and development agreements | LII / Legal Information Institute". .law.cornell.edu. Retrieved 25 March 2012.
  28. ^ "10 U.S. Code § 2474 - Centers of Industrial and Technical Excellence: designation; public-private partnerships". LII / Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  29. ^ "10 USC § 2667 – Leases: non-excess property of military departments and Defense Agencies | LII / Legal Information Institute". Law.cornell.edu. Retrieved 25 March 2012.

Other sources[edit]

  •  This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.
  • 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[edit]