Tinker AFB participates in "AERO Oklahoma" Aviation, Aerospace & Defense Awareness Day

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Kaseyann Cornwall
  • 72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Tinker Air Force Base leaders, service members, and aviation and aerospace industry representatives gathered at the State Capitol April 3 for AERO Oklahoma, an aviation, aerospace, and defense awareness day.

The event acknowledges Oklahoma's aviation, aerospace, and defense industry as a vital economic driver in the state. Participants were able to unite as a cohesive voice and engage with state legislators and elected officials to highlight Oklahoma's robust aviation legacy and its ongoing contributions to the global aviation, aerospace, and defense sectors.

Tinker is one of Oklahoma’s largest aviation contributors, and is Oklahoma's largest single-site employer, directly employing almost 27,000 employees as of fiscal year 2022 and creating almost $6.5 billion in combined economic impact to the community.

"AERO Oklahoma underscores Oklahoma's pivotal role in the aviation and aerospace industry, not only within our state but on a global scale," remarked Col. Abby Ruscetta, 72nd Air Base Wing and Tinker Installation commander. "This annual event provides us with an opportunity to reflect on our remarkable advancements in aviation and aerospace. From the early days of flight to today's state-of-the-art technology, our industry has continuously pushed boundaries. Oklahoma has been a driving force in this progress, boasting a rich history of innovation and achievement."

Ruscetta also spoke about Great Power Competition and Tinker’s unwavering focus on sustaining the Air Force to ensure readiness and investing in the capabilities essential for deterring aggression and ensuring victory against peer adversaries.

“Our work transcends mere contractual obligations; it is a solemn commitment to safeguarding freedom, propelling technological advancement, and ensuring the security of our nation,” said Brig. Gen. Brian Moore, Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex Commander.

Moore spoke at the Aerospace Commerce Economic Services Luncheon, a key part of AERO Oklahoma. The ACES Program, established by the Oklahoma Department of Commerce in partnership with the Department of Aerospace and Aeronautics, aims to boost the state's aerospace industry through a unified strategy, consulting services, DoD contracts, job creation, technical assistance, and business competitiveness. ACES coordinates efforts to strengthen Oklahoma's position in aerospace.

The Oklahoma Aviation and Aerospace Industry plays a significant role in the state's economy, generating nearly $44 billion in annual economic activity and positioning itself as the second largest economic engine in Oklahoma.

Col. Lena Freienmuth, individual mobilization augmentee to the Commander of the 76th Propulsion Maintenance Group, expressed her enthusiasm, stating, “Getting to meet all the different vendors and industry partners and witnessing the immense support for aviation in Oklahoma is the highlight of AERO Oklahoma.”

Members from across the base also had an opportunity to experience the event.

Senior Airman Alejandro Avila, 552nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron aircraft fuel systems journeyman, shared his experience, “The opportunity to step away from our daily operations and learn about Oklahoma's impact on the aerospace and aviation industry was the highlight of Aero Oklahoma."