2023: A Tinker AFB year in review

  • Published
  • By Destiny Washington

As 2023 prepares for takeoff let’s look back at the hard work, accomplishments and fun had at Tinker Air Force Base.

This was a busy year for the 552d Air Control Wing: “America’s Wing” supported every geographic combatant command, while maintaining homeland defense readiness and a very robust exercise and training schedule.  We also said good-bye to Aircraft 0560, the first E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft which arrived at Tinker March 23, 1977. By retiring thirteen E-3 aircraft, the 552d focused on prioritizing the health of the remaining fleet. Twelve of those are now at the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group in Tucson, Arizona, and can be used to help maintain remaining aircraft.

After four long years we hosted 301,000 people the Tinker air show. Families from across Oklahoma and beyond spent their Fourth of July holiday weekend with eyes to the sky, ready to witness United States military air capabilities in action and meet the service members who fly and maintain the equipment.

Tinker Air Force Base and its off-base community welcomed a new team member, ‘Tink’. As Tinker Air Force Base’s official mascot his main mission is to assist with community outreach and inspire Oklahomans to be interested in STEM programs, as well as create a buzz as to how a lizard can mean so much to the base.

We welcomed Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass and Air Force First Sergeant Special Duty Manager Chief Master Sgt. John Alsvig to Tinker AFB for the first time to learn more about the mission and Airmen on base. During their visit, Bass and Alsvig met with key leaders from Tinker and the community to address challenges Airmen and their families face. Bass was quick to point out the level of diversity among employees.

The U.S. Navy Strategic Communication Wing One held a birthday ball celebrating 248 years! The theme of this year's celebration was "248 Years of Power, Presence, and Protection,” which highlights the U.S. Navy’s historical and long-standing commitment to being forward deployed, highly trained, and dedicated to defending American interests at sea, on land, and in the sky.

A large contingent within the 507th Air Refueling Wing deployed this year in support of Operation Inherent Resolve as well as Operation Spartan Shield, a joint mission under U.S. Central Command, providing capabilities such as aviation operations, logistics, and force protection. The 507th ARW also took part in Exercise AGILE BLIZZARD UNIFIED VISION, an arctic-based Agile Combat Employment exercise, while executing various missions around the globe, from Alaska to Poland.

Former Tinker Air Force Base Defender and Vietnam hero was honored for his service by the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame. Senior Master Sgt. (Ret.) William “Pete” Piazza was inducted into the group’s ranks both for his service during the Vietnam War as well as his service to the Security Forces community later in life. Members of the Tinker community recognized Piazza’s name as one of Tinker AFB’s entry gates, named for him during a ceremony held in 2014.

Throughout the year we celebrated diversity during Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month and Native American Month. We dedicated a day to resiliency for the base along with various other base-wide activities for comradery.

Thank you for a great year, Tinker, we can’t wait to see what 2024 has aboard.