Since 1941 when the United States military first decided to locate an air depot in Oklahoma City, the OKC metro and Tinker Air Force Base have maintained the best of friendships. First established during the days of WWII, Tinker AFB has long been a critical component in our nation’s defense, but it has played an equally important role in Oklahoma City’s economy. Tinker is the state’s largest single-site employer, with more than 26,000 employees reporting for work there each day.
A little history on the base: Oklahoma City was awarded the base in 1941 using land that was owned by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. The base is named after Maj. Gen. Clarence L. Tinker, an Oklahoman and Native American who was the first general to lose his life during WWII. Its first mission included the repair and modification of B-17, B-24, and B-29 bombers and C-47 and C-54 cargo planes.
As Oklahoma City has grown and seen success, so has the Tinker Air Force Base. Tinker was named as an Air Force Sustainment Center (AFSC) in 2011 and recently was awarded the maintenance responsibilities for the Air Force’s next-generation aerial refueling aircraft, the KC-46A Pegasus. The announcement is expected to bring more than 1,300 new employees to the base.
Currently, Tinker’s estimated annual economic impact to the region is $3.41 billion, but it contributes much more than a dollar figure to the Oklahoma City community. After the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, Tinker employees provided support to the relief efforts, and they provide similar relief and assistance in the event of natural disasters. Their community contributions are felt in every area of the Oklahoma City metro.