The complete Tinker Air Force Base guide - We Are The Mighty
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The complete Tinker Air Force Base guide

Hello, prairieland! Did you just receive orders to Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma? Okay, this might not be your first pick because the Air Force definitely has some cushy locations, but Tinker really isn’t all that bad, especially if you love history. In fact, the namesake of Tinker was a legit badass. Check out more about his life here. Tinker is also one of the few installations in a major metro area. So if you’re worried about feeling like you’re out in the middle of nowhere, don’t despair! Tinker’s footprint is extensive – we’re talking to the tune of nearly 30,000 military and civilian workers, so there’s definitely a good chance you’ll make some lifelong friends here. 

So, if you’re buckling up and heading to the Sooner State, this guide is for you. In it, you’ll find everything you need to know about Tinker, including what there is to do out there (a lot!) and where to eat (hope you like TexMex!). We’re also including a directory of important phone numbers and some info on Tinker Air Force Base housing.  

Tinker Air Force Base Location

Tinker Air Force Base and the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center are located in the “Heart of Oklahoma”, Oklahoma City (Oklahoma County), just five miles from downtown Oklahoma City (OKC). 

Tinker Air Force Base gate at night
Tinker gate at night. (USAF photo)

Directions

Directions to Tinker Air Force Base are pretty simple. 

Heading in from the north? Take I-35 S to I-40 E, then follow the signs for Tinker AFB.

Driving up from the Texas heat? Take I-35 N to I-240 E and follow the signs for Tinker AFB.

Making the trek from the east? Take I-40 W and follow the signs for Tinker AFB.

Coming from the west? Take I-40 E and follow the signs for Tinker AFB.

Transportation

Flying to the closest airports: Will Rogers World Airport, Tulsa International Airport

Will Rogers World Airport (18 miles): Will Rogers is served by eight major and domestic airlines, with arrivals and departures to 25 locations.

Tula International Airport (117 miles): Tulsa International is the closest international airport.

Driving: Driving would allow you to have a vehicle for trips into Oklahoma City and other nearby places. OKC is pretty centrally located, but if you’re driving from any of the coasts, prepare for a long trip!

Aircraft at Tinker Air Force Base
Operated by the 552nd Air Control Wing based at Tinker AFB, OK. Returning from a mission as part of Red Flag 16-2. Nellis AFB, NV, USA. 1st March 2016. (Wikipedia)

Contacts at Tinker AFB

Airmen and Family Readiness Center: (405) 739-2747

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment: (405) 582-6605

Base Exchange: (405) 734-2641

Chaplain: (405) 734-2111 

Civilian Personnel Office: (405) 739-3401

Command Post: (405) 734-7313 

Dental Clinic: (405) 582-6474

Equal Opportunity Office: (405) 739-7889

Housing Office: (405) 734-7350

Law Enforcement Desk: (405) 734-3737

Legal Assistance: (405) 734-5811

Medical Appointments: (405) 734-2778

Mental Health Clinic: (405) 582-6603

Pharmacy: (405) 734-2778

Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Hotline: (405) 734-7272 

Mission and Units 

A E-6B Mercury based at Tinker Air Force Base
Boeing E-6B Mercury (707-300) with VQ-3 based at Tinker AFB, OK. (Wikipedia)

The mission of Tinker AFB and the Air Force Sustainment Center is to Sustain Weapon System Readiness to “Generate Airpower for America.” We definitely like the sound of that.

Tinker’s largest organization is the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex. It provides depot maintenance on the C/KC-135, B-1B, B-52, and E-3 aircraft, expanded phase maintenance on the Navy E-6 aircraft, and maintenance, repair, and overhaul of F100, F108, F110, F118, F119, and TF33 engines for the Air Force, Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, Navy, and foreign military sales.

The 72nd Air Base Wing provides base installation and support services for the headquarters, Air Force Sustainment Center, the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex, and 44 associate units assigned to six major commands, including the largest flying wing in Air Combat Command, the Navy’s Strategic Communications Wing One and several defense agencies.

The 448th Supply Chain Management Wing Provides enterprise-wide planning and execution for depot line repairable and consumables materiel, maintenance and distribution, aircraft structural and intercontinental ballistic missile electronics/communication commodities management, and engineering.

The 552nd Air Control Wing flies the E-3 Sentry aircraft and is part of the Air Force’s Air Combat Command mobile strike force.

The Navy’s Strategic Communications Wing ONE provides a vital, secure communications link to the submerged fleet of ballistic missile submarines.

The 507th Air Refueling Wing is the largest Air Force Reserve Command flying unit in the state of Oklahoma, reports to Fourth Air Force, and performs daily missions both locally and around the world in support of Air Mobility Command and U.S. Strategic Command’s national emergency war order requirements.

Tinker AFB History

Bombers sitting at Tinker Air Force Base in the late 1950s
A KC-135, B-47 and B-52 sit on the ramp at Tinker Air Force Base, circa late 1950s.

The Oklahoma City Air depot was activated in July 1941 and renamed to Tinker Field in October 1942 to honor Major General Clarence L. Tinker, who lost his life leading bombers on a long-range strike against Wake Island.

During WWII, women workers at Tinker helped perform maintenance on aircraft such as the B-17, B-24, and B-29 and aircraft engines such as the R1820, R2600, and R3350. At the Douglas Plant (now Bldg 3001), a 50.6 percent women workforce built half of all C-47 Skytrains produced for the Allied war effort.

In July 1976, the 552nd Airborne Warning and Control Wing was relocated to Tinker with its 33 operational E-3 airplanes. The wing was re-designated as the 552nd Air Control Wing in October 1991.

In the 1990s, Tinker AFB assisted in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. The Navy and Air Force made history on May 29, 1992, when the Naval Strategic Communications Wing ONE relocated to Tinker AFB.

Today, Tinker AFB has a $2 billion impact on the Oklahoma City economy each year.

Things to Do Around Tinker AFB

Hotels

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Midwest City (1.9 miles)

SpringHill Suites by Marriott (1.6 miles)

Best Western Plus Midwest City Inn & Suites (1.3 miles)

Restaurants

On the Border Mexican Grill & Cantina (1.2 miles) – TexMex

Black Bear Diner (2.5 miles) – Comfort food

Brielle’s Bistro (1.6 miles) – Cajun

Activities

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (11 miles) – This museum is a great place to explore the history of the American West!

Six Flags Frontier City (13.9 miles) – This 40-acre western-themed amusement park is the perfect place to spend the day with your family.

Charles B. Hall Air Park (10.9 miles) – This air park, which belongs to the base, displays aircraft that help tell the story of AFB’s history.

Air Force members at Tinker Air Force Base
Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones poses with members of the 552nd Air Control Wing’s E-3 Pride flight crew, Senior Airman Olivia Howey, Capt. Trenton Dickey, Capt. Jacqueline Evergreen, Lt. Col. Kurt Cepeda, Airman Aminta Covarrubias, Tech. Sgt. Christopher Stanley-Freeman and Capt. Gregory St. Clair during a visit to Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., June 24, 2022. Jones visited the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex and participated in a fireside chat with Airmen about how diversity and inclusion makes us a more mission ready and lethal force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Gina Anderson)

Tinker Air Force Base Housing

There are several housing options available for service members stationed at Tinker AFB. These include living on the installation, using privatized housing, or renting on the local economy.

Contact the Military Housing Office as soon as you receive orders to find out about current wait times and what might  be available for you when you PCS. When you in-process at Tinker Air Force Base, you’ll need to visit the MHO to receive counseling and guidance on obtaining housing. 

Unaccompanied housing is offered for unaccompanied Airmen in the ranks of E-1 to E-3 and E-4 with less than 3 years of service. Each Airman is provided a private sleeping room, furnishings, bed linens and supplies required for comfortable living. Unaccompanied airmen in the rank of E-4 with greater than three years of service and above can live in the local community.

Privatized Tinker Air Force Base Housing is managed by Balfour Beatty. This private company owns and operates seven neighborhoods on and near the base. Some neighborhoods are also open to other residents, including DoD personnel. Open floor plans, fenced-in backyards, and other perks wait for you in a Balfour Beatty home! 

Schools Near Tinker Air Force Base

Sadly there are no schools on base at Tinker. But the good news is there are plenty of other schools in the surrounding area! The Mid-Del School System serves the mil-kids who call Tinker Air Force Base home. Like most installations, where you live will determine which school your children attend. Bus transportation is available to all students. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Tinker AFB have nuclear weapons?

The Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center’s Missile Sustainment Division is located at Tinker AFB and serves as the Air Force system program manager for air-delivered nuclear cruise missiles. They currently manage the Air Launched Cruise Missile (AGM-86C), and Conventional ALCM Penetrator (AGM-86D). The division also provides engineering and technical support for bomber weapons integration for the B-52 launchers and associated equipment. However, there are no live nuclear weapons at Tinker AFB.

What does the Navy do at Tinker Air Force Base?

The United States Navy has housed their Strategic Communications Wing One at Tinker AFB. This wing consists of three squadrons and a wing staff and employs over 1,300 active-duty sailors and 100 contractors to provide maintenance, security, operations, administration, training, and logistic support for the E-6 Mercury aircraft fleet. The E-6B Mercury enables the president of the United States and the Secretary of Defense to directly contact submarines, bombers, and missile silos, enforcing the country’s national security through nuclear deterrence.

What planes are stationed at Tinker AFB?

At Tinker AFB, the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex provides maintenance on the C/KC-135, B-1B, B-52, and E-3 aircraft, as well as expanded phase maintenance on the Navy E-6 aircraft. You can also find a number of planes that are no longer in commission at the Charles B. Hall Air Park.

Can civilians live on Tinker AFB?

All housing at Tinker AFB is privatized and run through Tinker AFB Homes. They have select homes available to rent to military retirees and DOD civilian employees. 

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