Tinker AFB celebrates 75 years of being ‘Oklahoma’s footprint to support national defense’

This weekend marks Tinker Air Force Base’s 75th anniversary, and the base is celebrating it and the Air Force’s 70th birthday with a star-spangled salute air show.

To understand Tinker Air Force Base’s current state and future, KOCO 5’s Markie Martin took a look at the base’s history and economic impact.

“Unless you’re actually here, you don’t know and you don’t understand the immense impact,” said Thomas Brown Jr., vice commander at Tinker Air Force Base.

Tinker Air Force Base opened in the early 1940s, while World War II was well underway. In April 1941, an order was signed to make Oklahoma City home to a maintenance and supply depot for the war and was named after a man who died during an airstrike against the Japanese.

“The base was named for Maj. Gen. Clarence L. Tinker, who besides being an Oklahoma native was a member of Osage Nation,” Brown said.

Fast forward to today, and Tinker Air Force Base is one of the Department of Defense’s largest military installations. About 30,000 people work at the base on a day-to-day basis.

“It’s ants in a colony here,” Brown said. “You’ve got your uniform wearers. You’ve got your employees. You have government service civilians that are here.”

And it’s not only Air Force operations. Tinker Air Force Base is home to a Navy wing, Marines and a small group of Army members.

The base is situated on 4,000 acres with nearly 500 buildings. It brings in almost $4 billion per year for the state of Oklahoma.

“(It’s) Oklahoma’s footprint to support national defense. It’s right here,” Brown said.

Tinker Air Force Base has taken part in several conflicts and assignments, including the Korean Conflict, Operation Desert Storm, the Berlin and Cuban crises and post-9/11 assignments.

“What we do here, it’s not always Monday through Friday. It’s not always 8 to 5,” he said. “Sometimes you’re gonna get a phone call, you’re gonna get an email, and you’re going to be sent to parts unknown. You’re going to have to go to some…

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