TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --
Tinker Air Force Base leaders, Airmen and Sailors converged at the Oklahoma State Capitol along with several hundred other aviation and aerospace partners March 30 for AERO Oklahoma.
The event, hosted by the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission, was an opportunity for legislators and other Oklahomans to recognize and learn about aviation, aerospace and defense industries as vital economic drivers in the state.
Those in attendance, including more than 150 military members from across Oklahoma, heard from Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt and several other key speakers.
“Right now, you are living in the era of the airplane in Oklahoma,” said Oklahoma Department of Commerce executive director, Brent Kisling – a current Tinker Honorary Commander who serves as the civic partner to Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Jeff King.
Governor Stitt said aerospace accounts for roughly $44 billion annually for Oklahoma’s economy, including major contributions from Oklahoma’s five military installations and seven National Guard bases. He highlighted an average salary of $73,000 per year for the industry’s employee base, emphasizing those working in maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facilities.
“We’re so, so blessed in the state of Oklahoma to have Tinker Air Force Base and the largest MRO facility in the entire country (Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex),” said Stitt.
Several of Tinker’s industry and community partners also attended the event, including those from Oklahoma’s education community and representatives from organizations like American Airlines, Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration.
72nd Air Base Wing Commander, Col. Hall Sebren spoke of the importance of maintaining partnerships with all those in attendance as Tinker continues to grow and expand with the addition of the Air Force’s newest bomber, the B-21 Raider.
“Today, Tinker is an economic engine of almost $6 billion, almost $2 billion of that in direct payroll,” Sebren said. “Tomorrow, it’s going to be even bigger.”