Tinker Air Force Base
Tinker Air Force Base (1941-Active) - A United States Air Force Base first established in 1941 as Midwest Air Depot at Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma. Renamed Tinker Air Force Base in 1948 after Major General Clarence L. Tinker, who was killed during World War II while leading a strike against Japanese forces on Wake Island. Active Air Force Base.
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 site and acquired an option for 960 acres additional land. On 8 Apr 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 more than five thousand C-47s Skytrains used in World War II. In late 1943, 13,500 people worked at the air depot, while another 23,000 worked for the adjacent Douglas Aircraft. Production ceased in 1945 at the end of the war.
Post World War II
Tinker Field survived demobilization and expanded with a take over of the three-quarter-mile-long Douglas facility. Some 150,000 people attended the formal dedication of Tinker Field on 8 Nov 1945.
In February 1946 depot employees began modifying B-29s for atomic testing near the Bikini Atoll, and the historic Enola Gay visited Tinker for an overhaul. In 1947 Tinker employees began working on jet engines and also completed a modification of Pres. Harry S. Truman's C-54 airplane, the "Sacred Cow."
With the creation of the Air Force in 1947, the airfield was renamed Tinker Air Force Base on 13 Jan 1948. That year a massive tornado caused more than $10 million in damage to Tinker aircraft and facilities.
The Korean Conflict in the 1950s brought B-29s, B-50s, and B-36s to the depot for modifications and repairs. The workforce expanded as the depot workload grew. New aircraft types such as the B-47, B-52, and KC-135 brought a new generation of weapon systems to the base.
The first C-141 Starlifter in the USAF inventory, named the Spirit of Oklahoma City, was delivered to Tinker AFB in October 1964. For the next ten years, the Vietnam war saw more than two thousand A-7 Corsair IIs, F-4 Phantoms, and B-52 Stratofortresses received depot repair and modification at Tinker.
On 1 Apr 1974, the Oklahoma City Air Materiel Area became the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center (ALC).
In 1977 the first E-3 aircraft arrived at Tinker AFB as the 552d Airborne Warning and Control Wing (AWAC). The radar and communications aircraft has a large rotating radome on top of the fuselage.
The high demand for the unique capabilities has kept the Boeing E-3s deployed almost continuously since 1977.
The nearby Oklahoma City Air Force Station was merged into Tinker Air Force Base in 1983 as an annex. Part of the radar site became Oklahoma City FAA Radar Site while the other tenants on the site included the Air Force 38th Engineering Installation Group.
B-1 & B-2 Bombers
In 1988 the first B-1B bomber arrived for programmed maintenance and overhaul. That same year the center assumed management responsibility for the B-2 stealth bomber.
In May 1992 the U.S. Navy Strategic Communications Wing One E6 aircraft re-located to Tinker allowing the aircraft to be maintained at all levels on-base. These aircraft provided communications links between the National Command Structure and the Navy's worldwide operations and vessels. This was the first naval operational unit assigned to an Air Force base.
Tinker Heritage Airpark
Military and civic leaders opened the Tinker Heritage Airpark to the public in January 2000. The park displays historic aircraft that had been a part of Tinker's operations during the previous 60 years. The park is just outside the Tinker Gate allowing public access.
Active Air Force Base.
Visited: 12 Sep 2019