Tinker, community gather for 44th annual Dining Out

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --

Tinker Air Force Base and community leaders gathered together April 7 at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel to celebrate the 44th annual Dining Out, an event also commemorating the installation’s diamond anniversary. The time-honored tradition seeks to further enhance the relationship between the community and the military installation.

Since the base’s inception, Tinker and Oklahoma City have prioritized a strong and open working relationship to ensure the growth of the aerospace industry. As the state’s largest single-site employer, Tinker Air Force Base has proven to be a critical portion of the state’s economy, providing thousands of jobs in the public and private sectors.

As the featured speaker, Gov. Mary Fallin praised the base’s achievement and thanked Tinker’s men and women for their unwavering commitment to serve.

“The aerospace industry is the second largest industry in the state,” the governor said. “And that’s all thanks to Tinker.” Crediting the installation as the “anchor of Midwest City and the state,” Gov. Fallin pressed the importance of providing ample support and appreciation to a base that has kept the military strong, active and safe.

“Our challenge as a state is making sure we have the right workforce for the jobs at Tinker,” she said. “General Levy has wonderful mentorship and apprenticeship programs to help fill those STEM positions.” The United States Air Force has identified a dire need for individuals with an aptitude for science, technology, engineering and mathematics to consistently warrant stronger and better innovation efforts. As it stands today, Tinker alone could employ all of the STEM degree or certificate holders in the state, and still need many more.

The evening was complete with dances from the Osage Nation, a presentation of a commemorative anniversary painting by Air Force Reservist Sr. Master Sgt. Darby Perrin, who is a KC-135 boom operator at Tinker, and the military mess tradition of the grog accompanied by jests and cheers.

Tinker’s 75 illustrious years have changed and revitalized the community within which it lives, as well as the state from whom it thrives.