The Okies of the 507th Air Refueling Wing celebrated 50 years at Tinker in Could. Throughout the previous 5 many years, the mission and plane have modified, however one side stays the identical: Okie spirit.
The wing held Household Day April 30, which is traditionally held in September, to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary Could 20.
The Okies function like a household, so naturally this yr’s household day festivities had been successful. The festivities included static plane shows, meals distributors, and historic shows highlighting the wing’s accomplishments over the previous half century.
The 1100 Reserve Citizen Airmen of the 507th ARW every play a vital position in supporting the mission. The mission help group has probably the most personnel and are the heartbeat of the wing, performing logistics capabilities, civil engineering, power help, aerial port, and protection to not solely the wing but additionally to affiliate models.
The operations group operates 8 KC-135 Stratotanker plane, making certain gasoline is delivered to the struggle.
The upkeep group ensures the plane fleet is meticulously maintained able to deploy at a second’s discover.
The medical squadron displays the medical, dental and psychological well being of all members within the 507th in addition to the personnel within the affiliate unit, the 513th Air Management Group, ensuring members are able to serve at any time.
None of those teams might work independently of the others as a result of the Okies are a crew. Listed below are a number of the highlights of this landmark yr:
In March, present and former Okies looked for a fiftieth anniversary time capsule within the Charles B. Corridor airpark, situated on the entrance to the bottom. The capsule was rumored to be hidden someplace in a compartment of former 507th TFG F-105 Thunderchief, tail quantity 62360. Former crew chief, retired Grasp Sgt. David Phillips, assisted within the search, however sadly, the capsule was not recovered from the plane.
In April, the wing hosted former Okie George Wallace, an F-105 pilot, as he kicked off the Annual awards banquet with a transferring speech because the visitor speaker. Different friends of observe had been the grandchildren of Billy Hughes, Kelli and Mitchell Hughes. Hughes was a supervisory plane upkeep technician who handed away in energetic service at Tinker Air Drive Base, Oklahoma, July 12, 1992, after a decade of honorable service to the wing. Yearly, an award for excellence is given in his honor and the Hughes household offered the 2021 Billy Hughes award to Senior Grasp Sgt. Wiley Warner.
In April, two jets obtained customized nostril artwork, which is an ornamental portray or design on the fuselage of an plane designed to spice up morale and assist differentiate between crews or planes. Plane numbers 580058 and 580051 each obtained decals on the plane in honor of the wing’s anniversary.
The art work on 0058 depicts the Oklahoma Metropolis Bombing Memorial in downtown Oklahoma Metropolis with the U.S. flag filling the whole sky, waving proudly within the background. Plane 0051 proudly shows the Okies heritage patch, a yellow arrowhead with a crimson define depicting every plane the wing has flown over time and ‘SH’ for Sooner Dwelling.
Plane 0058’s devoted crew chief, Tech. Sgt. Travis Krause, designed the art work, titled “Perserverance,” and defined the importance of the piece.
“The nostril artwork is the soul of the plane embodied into a bit of artwork that instills delight into those that work on it, fly on it and everybody who sees it,” Krause mentioned.
In July, the 507th deployed greater than 120 Airmen to Hawaii to take duty because the lead tanker unit within the Rim of the Pacific train. At RIMPAC 2022, the wing supplied air refueling help to greater than two dozen companion nations by flying 155 flight hours and offloading 1.8 million kilos of gasoline to 276 receivers to advertise a free and open Indo-Pacific.
In September, the wing efficiently accomplished a Nuclear Operational Readiness Inspection throughout three days.
“Inside a difficult no-fail train state of affairs, the 507th Okie Airmen clearly demonstrated their skill to execute our U.S. Air Drive’s prime precedence mission,” mentioned Col. Michael Parks, 507th Air Refueling Wing commander. “The nation expects all parts of the nuclear enterprise to adjust to unwavering safety, security and reliability requirements.”
Additionally in September, longtime Okie Col. Ken Humphrey, departed the unit and handed the torch on to his son to proceed the Okie legacy, which can now span three generations.
Humphrey, former 507th Operations Group commander, flew his last flight as an Okie right here September 29, 2022. He was joined by his son 2nd Lt. Kennedy Humphrey, who will be part of the unit as a KC-135 pilot upon his completion of undergraduate pilot coaching.
Humphrey served within the 507th since Feb. 6, 1993 and is the second era of his household to be part of the unit.
In October, the general public affairs workplace hosted the second of two partner flights this yr. Between the October flight and one other flight in April, 28 spouses skilled refueling missions and noticed what our Reservists accomplish finishing up the refueling mission. Eric Metzger, partner of the 507th Drive Help Squadron’s Tamila Metzger, expressed his gratitude for having the ability to take part in one of many partner flights.
“It was actually a as soon as in a lifetime alternative,” mentioned Metzger. “The crew, from the pilots to the growth operators, had been skilled, educated, and attentive. The airplane itself was spic-and-span from entrance to again and well-maintained. It was apparent the flight crew took nice delight of their plane.”
In November, the Okies carried out three KC-135 flyovers at school soccer video games: Nov. 5, over College of Oklahoma, Nov. 12, over Texas Tech and on Nov. 19, over the College of South Carolina. Lt. Col. Douglas Jeffrey IV, 507th Operations Group commander, defined how flyovers give a chance to showcase our mission to the general public.
“We volunteered for the Texas Tech Veteran’s Day flyover not just for the 50,000 followers however so the world is aware of we will ship airpower on time and at a second’s discover,” mentioned Jeffrey.
On Dec. 16, plane 500058 was decommissioned and personnel gathered to bid their goodbyes, signing the plane and rendering a last salute to the plane because it taxied out to the runway on its last flight. The plane will sit in storage on the 309th Aerospace Upkeep and Regeneration Group at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, extra generally referred to as the Plane Boneyard.
The Okies are proud to name Tinker Air Drive Base their dwelling, which celebrated 80 years this yr. The historical past of the wing and the range of mission units proves that the 507th ARW Okies are poised and prepared help quite a lot of mission for years to come back.