TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --
When he was a child growing up in a small North Carolina town, Cedrick Jessup never dreamed he would one day become the commodore of Strategic Communications Wing ONE at Tinker Air Force Base.
“Coming out of a small town like [Mount Airy] I would have never imagined becoming the commodore of an entire wing, especially in Oklahoma! I’m in the United States Navy, not the Air Force,” CAPT. Jessup said on the new episode of the Tinker Talks podcast.
Ironically, Jessup’s plan was to join the Air Force because he wanted to fly.
He fell in love with flying at the age of 11 and joined the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps while in college at North Carolina A&T State University. When the instructor learned Jessup wanted to fly, he offered a scholarship, but said he couldn’t become a pilot because no slots had ever been given to someone from their detachment at the historically Black university.
“I looked at him and said ‘I apologize, but I’m probably wasting your time. I don’t want to do anything but fly,’” Jessup said. Then, he called a Navy recruiter and his dream became reality.
Jessup began as a helicopter pilot, before transitioning to jets. The E-6B Mercury flown by the Sailors in SCW-1 is the eighth aircraft he’s flown since joining the Navy.
The TACAMO, or Take Charge and Move Out, wing is unique in the Navy. First, it’s in a landlocked state but is considered sea duty. Second, the E-6B is the only aircraft in the Navy that requires 24-hour security.
“Having our headquarters in the center of the United States allows us to go east, west or even up north to execute our mission from a central location,” Jessup said. “An added benefit is being on an Air Force base. The Air Force has policies and procedures in place to give us the security we require.”
The commodore said the partnership between the Navy and the Air Force at Tinker is strong.
“The support from the medical to the family readiness center, the Air Force is open arms,” he said. “Our Sailors feel a part of the base. Everything that the base does, they always include us, which is awesome.”
Being near the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex is also a huge benefit.
“The ALC does a lot of our heavy depot maintenance,” Jessup said. “How easy is it for me to just taxi an aircraft across the runway instead of having to fly it?”
Jessup said his Sailors continuously practice their mission, but hope they never have to execute it. In fact, the commodore wears a patch on his sleeve that says, “Been nuked today? You’re welcome.”
“That means we’re doing our job every single day so we don’t actually have to execute it,” he said.
Listen to the entire conversation on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or https://www.dvidshub.net/audio/66347/tinker-talks-navy-wing-air-force-base-key-total-force-mission-tinker.