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Oklahoma Governor visits Okies

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Mary Begy
  • 507th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. The Honorable J. Kevin Stitt, Governor of Oklahoma, the Honorable Brian Bingman, Oklahoma Secretary of State and the Honorable Brenda Stanley, Oklahoma State Senator, visited the 507th Air Refueling Wing, here Feb. 5, 2021.

Col. Michael Parks, 507th ARW commander, led the tour through various areas of the wing.

The visit included walk throughs of various 507th ARW shops including the 507th Maintenance Group metals fabrication shop and the non-destructive inspection shop. There the governor was given demonstrations on various techniques and equipment that the 507th MXG uses to keep the aging KC-135R Stratotanker flying.

“It was a great opportunity for our Airmen to shine,” said Maj. Cassandra Espy, 507th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander. “Disciplined maintenance and innovation will keep this jet flying for years to come."

She added that it was a privilege to show the governor the hard work that goes on in the maintenance group every day.

Stitt then met with Airmen from around the wing and learned about the differences they make every day both in the Air Force Reserve and in the greater Oklahoma community.

Stitt first met Senior Airman Thomas Stege, 507th Force Support Squadron radio frequency transmission systems technician, who recently saved a man’s life using the lifesaving techniques he learned during his Air Force Reserve readiness training.

Next, Stitt met with Lt. Col. Alvin Bradford, 507th Medical Squadron commander, who is an emergency room doctor rotating through multiple Oklahoma City Hospitals on the front line of the COVID-19 crisis and spearheading the COVID-19 vaccine distribution within the wing.

Lastly, Stitt met with Tech. Sgt. Nathalie Hamilton, 507th AMXS crew chief, who was recently selected to commission as an officer and begin training to be a future KC-135 pilot.

“These Okies are representative of what being a Reserve Citizen Airmen is all about,” Col. Michael Parks, 507th ARW commander said. “They serve not only their local communities on a daily basis, but also wear the Air Force uniform and serve their country globally. The ability to share their stories and highlight their hard work to our governor is an honor.”

Stitt, Bingman and Stanley then toured a KC-135. They asked questions and heard about the Okie refueling mission that keeps various aircraft airborne and provides airpower at a moment’s notice.

“These individuals are in our community…and they serve their country,” Governor Stitt said. “The Reserve unit is a huge asset. They are a critical mission for the Air Force that makes all those F-16s look cool.”

Stitt concluded that he was proud of the team.

“This reserve unit is a huge asset to Oklahoma City and to Oklahoma as a whole,” Stitt said. “We are so proud of our military men and women.”