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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

OKC ranked as the best city for retired vets

45th Infantry Museum

This story originally ran on VeloCity.com.

Did you know that about 250,000 military members transition out of service every year? There can be a lot of perks to retirement, but retired veterans in Oklahoma City have something to be especially happy about: Not only was Oklahoma City recently ranked among the top 5 cities for veteran homebuyers, but now a study conducted by Navy Federal Credit Union found that Oklahoma City is the best city for retired vets.

“The ranking was made by considering 11 metrics of veteran success and wellness, including veteran’s income, unemployment rates, proximity to VA hospitals and military bases, and then coupling it with a suite of quality of life measures, which include factors like affordability, the local economy, access to health resources, colleges and the arts, and more…Oklahoma City earns its top ranking with some of the strongest scores for both veteran-specific metrics and for overall quality of life measures…OKC scored particularly well in the categories of high incomes and income growth for veterans, low unemployment among veterans and the number of veteran-owned businesses.”

Tinker, cost of living, military
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Military roots

KC-46A refueling

If you’re new to the 4-0-5 (and even if you’re not,) you may not realize how significant a part of our history and culture the military has in OKC. Sure, you see those big ole airplanes with the flying saucer-looking thingees on top of them and you hear a local car dealer claiming to be located across from “where the big birds fly”, but what in the name of Wiley Post are they talking about??

What better time to clear the air (see what I did there?) about OKC and the history we share with the military than right before Veterans Day – Monday, Nov. 11.

That reference to “where the big birds fly” is Tinker Air Force Base, home of the U.S. Air Force Sustainment Center, the world’s largest military maintenance, repair and overhaul facility. The genesis of the installation came in late 1940 as World War II enveloped Europe and after key Oklahoma City entrepreneurs formed the Oklahoma Industries Foundation. The civic leaders, led by Edward K. Gaylord, Wilbur E. Hightower, Tom Braniff, Frank Buttram, and Stanley Draper, learned that the War Department was looking for an appropriate site to build an aircraft maintenance depot in the American Midwest. They acquired 960 acres and offered the land to the government at no cost. While holding the option on another 480 acres, they promised to provide necessary utilities, roads, and a rail spur to the airfield.

Named in honor of Oklahoma native, Maj. Gen. Clarence L. Tinker, the first Native American major general, the base – originally called the Midwest Air Depot – was formally activated in 1941 as the site that produced approximately half of all C-47 transport aircraft used in WWII.

The base today performs maintenance on such U.S. Air Force aircraft as the KC-135, B-1B, B-52 and E-3 (also known as the AWACS, the airplane with the “flying saucer” on its top), and the Navy’s E-6.

aviation, history, holiday, military, Tinker
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Celebrating history

45th Infantry Division Museum

The 45th Infantry Museum is dedicated to telling the story of the “Thunderbirds” of the 45th Infantry Division. This group of was formed during the National Defense Act of 1920 and spent their first years maintaining order in times of disaster and political unrest. Before deploying during World War II, the Thunderbirds trained at five bases, including Fort Sill in Oklahoma. They participated in four amphibious landings and saw 511 days in combat, and were described as “one of the best, if not the best division in the history of American arms” by General George S. Patton.

The Thunderbirds continued to serve after WWII until January 1969, and their legacy lives on today at the museum honoring the accomplishments of the division. Admission is free to this 27,000-square-foot attraction. Exhibits include Reaves Military Weapons Collection, which features firearms and related artifacts dating as far back as the Revolutionary War. Thunderbird Park also features tanks, artillery and aircraft onsite. 

If the history of America’s military aviation is more to your liking, then visit the Charles B. Hall Air Park near Tinker Air Force Base on Interstate 40 East. The park is rich in the history of Tinker Air Force Base and in the aircraft that have been part of Tinker’s operations for more than seven decades.

You can also head out to the 99s Museum of Women Pilots to learn more about the history of women in aviation, including an exhibit on female military pilots. Read more about the 99s Museum here.

aviation, free, history, military, museums, parks, Tinker
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Reaching for the sky

Airplane

Oklahoma City and aerospace go hand-in-hand, but if you are new to OKC you might not fully appreciate how important the industry is to our current economy.

Most people will recognize the major players in Oklahoma City’s aerospace industry, like the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center at Tinker Air Force Base and its partnerships with private companies such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney to operate the largest aircraft and jet repair center in the U.S. Another star performer is the FAA’s Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center, whose 5,500 employees provide aviation training and logistics support to the nation’s aerospace system. And Oklahoma City’s educational institutions in the region have close and frequent interaction with these industry professionals, laying the foundation for further growth.

Most recently Kratos Defense announced they will be building a new facility in Oklahoma City that will build jet-powered unmanned aircraft. The new 75,000-square-foot facility will employee more than 350 workers.

All of these factors combine to make aerospace one of the key drivers of our region’s economy. It supports more than 85,000 workers and the production of $7.3 billion in goods and services in Oklahoma City alone. On a state level, aviation is Oklahoma’s top foreign export and accounts for a staggering 10 percent of our state’s economy. Oklahoma is one of the top 10 states nationally in traditional aerospace employment.

jobs, Tinker, aerospace, business
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Best of 2017

Riversport Rapids

Each year, we like to take a look back at some of our favorite posts of the past year. 2017 was a big year for our city and the groundwork was laid for several projects and initiatives that could shape our metro for decades to come.

  • Tinker Turns 75- Tinker Air Force Base is a major driver of the OKC economy and this year it turned the big 7-5.
  • Innovation District- Entrepreneurship has been in our city’s DNA since its founding in a single day. This year an effort in placemaking, centered around a proposed innovation district, took huge strides towards reality.
  • Craft Beer Explosion- The craft beer scene in Oklahoma City has been on the rise for a while with some local breweries who have won big honors. However, recent efforts to modernize our state’s liquor laws have set the stage for local breweries to reach a whole new level.
  • Various Venues- With the opening of several new venues, live music had a big year in OKC.
  • Infrastructure Investment- This fall OKC residents voted yes on a landmark infrastructure package that will invest more than $1 billion in our roads, bridges and public safety.
  • A River’s Rise- Check out our new storytelling feature on the rise of the Oklahoma River.
Innovation District, live music, music, Oklahoma River, Tinker, beer, community
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

What weíre thankful for

MAPS Whitewater Rapids

Since 2017 was such a big year for our community, and this is the week of giving thanks, we thought we would share some of the things we are thankful for.

  • A River’s Rise: The Oklahoma River continues to be an unexpected gem in the heart of downtown.
  • MAPS 3: The landmark initiative continues to make huge strides as we see more and more projects take shape.
  • The citizens: This year the citizens of OKC approved a $1.2 billion infrastructure investment to improve their community.
  • The Thunder: This year marks a decade of Thundering Up in OKC.
  • Innovation: Oklahoma City took the first steps in creating an innovation district based on the results of a Brookings/Project for Public Spaces study on OKC.
  • Beer: Recent changes in state law have resulted in an explosion of craft breweries in the metro.
  • Live music: The opening of several new venues have brought the live music scene in Oklahoma City to another level.
  • Tinker: This year marked the 75th anniversary of Tinker Air Force Base.
Innovation District, live music, MAPS, Oklahoma River, Thunder, Tinker, beer, community
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Tinker Turns 75

If you have spent any time at all reading our blog then you know we tend to talk about Tinker Air Force Base a lot. Well we have good reason too. Not only is Tinker critical in the defense of our country, but it is one of the biggest economic drivers in our state. More than 26,000 employees got to work at Tinker every day and the base contributes more than $3 billion to the local economy annually.

This year Tinker celebrates its 75th anniversary. The year will be filled with fun activities to celebrate the monumental anniversary culminating in an Air Force Ball on Sept. 16.

This a chance to not only celebrate the crucial work being done at Tinker but also 75 years of deep commitment between the Air Force and our community. So check out the schedule, get to an event (or two) and celebrate Tinker’s 75 years in our city as we look forward to even more success for the base in the future.

aviation, employment, jobs, Tinker
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Take flight in OKC

Tinker

If you are new to OKC, you might not fully appreciate how important the aerospace industry is to our current economy.

Most people will recognize the major players in Oklahoma City’s aerospace industry, like the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center at Tinker Air Force Base and its partnerships with private companies such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney to operate the largest aircraft and jet engine repair center in the U.S. Another star performer is the FAA’s Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center, whose 5,500 employees provide aviation training and logistics support to the nation’s aerospace system. And Oklahoma City’s educational institutions in the region have close and frequent interaction with these industry professionals, laying the foundation for further growth.

Will Rogers World Airport is another hub of Greater Oklahoma City's aviation industry is with approximately 10,000 employees and 67 tenants. More than 3.7 million travels pass through our airport every year. Most recently, the airport announced three new restaurants coming to the airport including local favorites Tucker’s Onion Burgers and Coolgreens.

All of these factors combine to make aerospace one of the key drivers of our region’s economy. It supports more than 85,000 workers and the production of $7.3 billion in goods and services in Oklahoma City alone.

aerospace, aviation, restaurants, Tinker
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Making a mark on aviation history

While the Wright brothers may not have hailed from Oklahoma, plenty of other aviation pioneers did, allowing our state to leave an indelible mark on the industry’s history. Aviation pioneers Clyde Cessna, Will Rogers, Shannon Lucid, Wiley Post, and John “Lee” Atwood all contributed to the craft of aviation while living in Oklahoma, with Will Rogers and Wiley Post both calling Oklahoma “home” for the majority of their lives.

Post first made headlines in 1931 when he and his navigator broke the record by flying around the world in just eight days (hey, it was 1931). This accomplishment made Post a national celebrity (on par with Charles Lindbergh). In 1933, he became the first person to fly solo around the world. For most people, that would be enough accomplishment for a lifetime, but not for Mr. Post. He also developed one of the first pressure suits and discovered the jet stream.

Another Oklahoma aviation and military pioneer is Major Gen. Clarence Tinker, who was born in Osage Nation near Pawhuska, Okla., in 1887. He began his distinguished military service in 1912, when he was commissioned into the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant. During World War I, he rose in rank to major, and in 1919 he was transferred to the place where he would spend the bulk of his career, the Air Corps.

After rising through the ranks, he was named Commander of the Seventh Air Force in Hawaii after the attacks on Pearl Harbor. In 1942, Tinker was promoted to major general, becoming the first Native American to reach that rank and the highest-ranking officer with Native American ancestry in the U.S. Army at that time. Tinker demonstrated the hands-on, get-things-done nature of Oklahomans when he personally led a force of B-24s against the retreating Japanese naval forces during the Battle of Midway on June 7.

During that battle, Tinker became the first American general killed during World War II, but his legacy was commemorated in a lasting way a few months later when the Oklahoma City Air Depot was named Tinker Field in his honor. That air depot served its country faithfully during World War II and is still serving faithfully today as Tinker Air Force Base and the Air Force Sustainment Center.

This year is a great opportunity to learn more about the history of Tinker Air Force Base and the impact it has on our community. The base turns 75 this year and will host events all year long to celebrate including a half marathon and air show. Check out a list of events to get involved. 

Save

aviation, festivals, history, running, Tinker
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Military ties in OKC

Tinker AWACS

It’s no secret that Oklahoma City has strong connections to the U.S. military. Tinker Air Force Base has been part of the Oklahoma City community since 1941 and frequent readers of our blog know how the base plays an important role to the region. Not only is it the largest single-site employer in the state, it is also one of the largest Air Force bases in the nation. Currently, Tinker’s estimated economic impact to the region is $3.41 billion annually.

Not only have brave Oklahomans served in all branches of the military spanning several decades, but the state of Oklahoma is home to several military bases, including Altus Air Force Base, Vance Air Force Base, Fort Sill Army Base, McAlester Army Ammunition Army Base, and Oklahoma City’s own Tinker Air Force Base.

To all who have served and to the families who support them – thank you for your sacrifice.

Tinker, employment, military
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Brush up on OKCís military history

45th Infantry Division Museum

Because of OKC’s ongoing ties to the U.S. military, you can learn about this community’s history with the U.S. Armed Services year round.

The 45th Infantry Museum is dedicated to telling the story of the “Thunderbirds” of the 45th Infantry Division. This group of was formed during the National Defense Act of 1920 and spent their first years maintaining order in times of disaster and political unrest. Before deploying during World War II, the Thunderbirds trained at five bases, including Fort Sill in Oklahoma. They participated in four amphibious landings and saw 511 days in combat, and were described as “one of the best, if not the best division in the history of American arms” by General George S. Patton.

The Thunderbirds continued to serve after WWII until January 1969, and their legacy lives on today at the museum honoring the accomplishments of the division. Admission is free to this 27,000-square-foot attraction. Exhibits include Reaves Military Weapons Collection, which features firearms and related artifacts dating as far back as the Revolutionary War. Thunderbird Park also features tanks, artillery and aircraft onsite. 

You can also head out to the 99s Museum of Women Pilots to learn more about the history of women in aviation, including an exhibit on female military pilots. Read more about the 99s Museum here.

If the history of America’s military aviation is more to your liking, then visit the Charles B. Hall Air Park near Tinker Air Force Base on Interstate 40 East. The park is rich in the history of Tinker Air Force Base and in the aircraft that have been part of Tinker’s operations for more than seven decades.

aviation, history, military, museums, Tinker
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Memorial Day in OKC

Parade

As we’ve written about in the past, Oklahoma City has deep ties to our armed forces. With Memorial Day approaching, we thought it would be a good time to revisit those connections and look at ways you can celebrate and honor those who have fallen in service to our country.

Of course it all starts with Tinker Air Force Base, one of the largest Air Forces bases in the country. Tinker employs more than 26,000 and is our state’s largest single site employer. The base houses the Air Force Sustainment Center which is the focal point for all the Air Force’s weapon systems, providing crucial support in defending our country. You can read more about Tinker AFB in our past post.

Our city and state have also had the honor of having a battleship and a submarine named after us. Most famously the USS Oklahoma, which fought in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Tragically, 429 crewman were killed in the attack as the ship was sunk. The anchor of the ship is located in Campbell Park, just north of Downtown Oklahoma City. Read more about the USS Oklahoma here.

There has also been a submarine and light cruiser christened the USS Oklahoma City. The submarine is currently active and has been used to fight the War on Terror and illegal drug shipments. The light cruiser fought in both WWII and Vietnam and has accumulated more than 13 battle stars. You can read more about those ships here.  

Tinker, holiday, military
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, November 10, 2015

OKCís ties to the military run deep

Military Color Guard

It’s no secret that Oklahoma City has strong connections to the U.S. military, and as our nation celebrates Veterans Day on Nov. 11, we feel like it is appropriate to honor the ways that the military has shaped the growth of Oklahoma City. Not only have brave Oklahomans served in all branches of the military spanning several decades, but the state of Oklahoma is home to several military bases, including Altus Air Force Base, Vance Air Force Base, Fort Sill Army Base, McAlester Army Ammunition Army Base, and Oklahoma City’s own Tinker Air Force Base.

Tinker Air Force Base has been part of the Oklahoma City community since 1941 and frequent readers of our blog know how the base plays an important role to the region. Not only is it the largest employer in the state, it is also one of the largest Air Force bases in the nation. Currently, Tinker’s estimated economic impact to the region is $3.41 billion annually.

For more ways to feel inspired this Veterans Day, check out area events honoring the military and year-round exhibitions that celebrate Oklahoma City’s military contributions.

Tinker, holiday, military
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Youíve got a friend in me

Tinker Air Strip

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.  

Oklahoma City history, Tinker
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Veterans Day

If you’ve read our blog, you are well aware that Oklahoma City has deep ties to our armed services. The region has a long and proud tradition of supporting Tinker Air Force Base in a myriad of ways. Along with Tinker, Oklahoma is also home to the 45th Infantry Division, who served valiantly in World War II, and the state has ties to the attack at Pearl Harbor. As we celebrate Veterans Day, a day set aside to honor those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, we thought we would look at the ties that bind OKC and our military together.  

As we mentioned, one of the driving forces between our region and the armed forces is Tinker Air Force Base. The base is one of the largest Air Force bases in the country, and provides critical support for our military personnel. The base is also a huge economic driver for our city, as it is the state’s largest single-site employer. You can read more about Tinker’s importance and history in our recent blog post.

military, Tinker
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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USS Oklahoma City

Although you might not think it (due to lack of ocean coastline), the Navy also has a unit stationed in Oklahoma City and they play a critical role in our nation’s defense. Tinker Air Force base is home to the Navy’s Strategic Communications Wing One. This unit employs more than 1,300 active sailors and provides a plethora of support programs, including maintenance, security and training to the E-6 Mercury fleet. Why is the unit so vital? All communications to America’s submarine fleet go through the E-6 Mercury. In times of a major conflict the E-6 Mercury allows the President and Secretary of Defense to communicate directly with the nation’s nuclear triad of submarines, bombers and missile silos.

Speaking of submarines and the Navy, did you know there was a USS Oklahoma City? First launched in 1985 the USS Oklahoma City is one of 40 Los Angeles-class submarines currently active. Most recently the submarine spent 2007 deployed in the Persian Gulf in support of the War on Terror. The USS Oklahoma City has also been active in stopping illegal drug shipments in the Pacific, seizing more than $1.5 billion in contraband.

Fun fact: there has actually been two USS Oklahoma City ships. The first USS Oklahoma City was a light cruiser that was launched in 1944 and sailed  in both World War II and the Vietnam War. In 1971, the Oklahoma City shot the first successful combat surface-to-surface missile shot in US Navy history. The ship accumulated 13 battle stars and was commemorated at the National Museum of the Pacific War.

Tying all this together is the Oklahoma City Navy League. The nonprofit works tirelessly to provide funding to active duty Navy stationed at Tinker and on the USS Oklahoma City. They provide pen pals, recreation opportunities, emergency leave, company visits and award the Sailor of the Year. They also, along with the Chamber, hold one of the nation’s largest Navy Birthday Balls each year. 

military, Tinker
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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