TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- It’s been a whirlwind of a year here for the ‘Okies’ of the 507th Air Refueling Wing.
From Oklahoma to Europe and Southwest Asia, more than 1,100 Reserve Citizen Airmen of the 507th ARW, the largest Reserve unit in the state of Oklahoma, accomplished a great deal.
The 507th Operations Group flew the KC-135 Stratotanker for 2,666 hours, supported 685 sorties and provided more than 17 million pounds of fuel to 2,043 receiver aircraft. In addition, Citizen Airmen provided flight training to C-17 and KC-135 operators at a geographically separated unit, the 730th Air Mobility Training Squadron at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma.
The powerhouse of the wing, the 507th Maintenance Group, deployed 72 personnel, five aircraft and 53,000 pounds of equipment to Turkey; readying aircraft for 225 combat sorties and making 13 million pounds of fuel available to receiver aircraft.
After deployment, the group rolled into a nuclear operational readiness inspection, followed by a sucessful unit effectiveness inspection. Maintenance personnel supported 35 missions to England, France, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Florida and others putting Okies around the world.
Modernizing the fleet is one of the Air Force’s top priorities, and the Okies tackled two major aircraft modifications this year: The Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures modification and the Block 45 avionics upgrade.
The 507th ARW fulfilled a critical role within the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard in the testing and fielding efforts to employ an operational LAIRCM pod defensive system, which provides laser-based missile-defense capabilities to the KC-135.
The Block 45 upgrade revamped the KC-135s cockpit by removing individual analog controls and consolidating them onto one LCD screen in a digital format. The Turkish and Chilean Air Force visited the 507th ARW to see the Block 45 avionics upgrade first hand.
This year, the 507th Mission Support Group deployed to Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan and other undisclosed locations in Southwest Asia in direct support of combat operations against ISIS for Operation Inherent Resolve.
The 507th Security Forces Squadron deployed in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and safeguarded 600 personnel, 172 aircraft and 7,000 tons of cargo. In Afghanistan, they ensured the safety of 37 air advisors for a total of 1,800 hours.
The 507th Civil Engineer Squadron designed and constructed the first emergency call center in the Air Force with next generation 911 capabilities. This provided communications for eight departments, reduced emergency response times by 50 percent and saved the Air Force 3.4 million dollars. In addition, they completed 20 million dollars’ worth of facility improvement projects, which replaced aging infrastructure and increased efficiency in the workplace.
The 507th Force Support Squadron mobilized 273 Citizen Airmen for deployment, and processed 1.4K identification cards in support of joint services, retirees and dependents on base. The FSS’s 77 physical fitness leaders conducted 1,600 fitness assessments for members and led 15 fitness improvement classes, which enabled Airmen to improve their overall fitness and careers.
The “Port Dawgs” of the 72nd Aerial Port Squadron provided the military logistical functions for the port here. They managed 1,015 missions; moving 8,000 tons of cargo and 18,000 passengers in support of Operation Inherent Resolve.
The 507th Inspector General Inspections office organized two major inspections and earned a coin from the 4th Air Force commander. The team was lauded by Air Mobility Command during Global Thunder and the Management Internal Control Toolset validation rate soared to an all-time high of 98 percent for the wing, which proved the IGI office’s effectiveness in revitalizing the Commander’s Inspection Program.
This year marked the 75th Anniversary of Tinker Air Force Base and the 45th Anniversary of the 507th operating out of this base. This year’s Star Spangled Salute Air Show celebrated that history. The 507th ARW refueled the U.S. Thunderbirds in route to their performance and the air show in Oklahoma on May 18, 2017. The Air Show was held May 20-21 and had the largest crowds see to date.
The 507th ARW Command Post continued to support U.S. Strategic Command Alert requirements in command and control. They won the AFRC Medium Command Post of the Year award for their efforts in mission capability and effectiveness.
The 507th ARW PA office showcased the Air Force story and the wing’s mission to 5.2 million audience members worldwide through traditional news media, social media, online and community relations events. They earned the Brig. Gen. Dalton Award for best overall communications program in support of the Air Force mission and the Staff Sgt. Christopher S. Frost Outstanding Communications NCO Award.