Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City will become home to two Navy
squadrons which will fly the E-6A communications aircraft, it was
That announcement came from Oklahoma's Congressional Delegation
after Acting Navy Secretary H. Lawrence Garrett III sent a letter to
Congress confirming Tinker as the most cost-effective option for
moving the squadrons.
Construction can begin immediately now that the last major
hurdle for the move has been cleared. When House and Senate
negotiators approved $11.8 million for construction of Navy
facilities at Tinker in December, they required the report before
the funds could be spent.
"With transmittal of this report, we have cleared the last major
hurdle," said a joint announcement from six members of Oklahoma's
Congressional delegation, "and the Navy can start spending the
(funds) to begin construction."
Purchase of the land where the facilities are to be built is
expected to begin May 1, Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce President
Clyde Ingle said Thursday.
However, Paul Strasbaugh, his administrative assistant, refused
to discuss the impending purchase, saying merely that military
engineers are evaluating the property, and negotiations may begin
"They have to determine market price," he said, "then get a bid,
receive authorization and purchase orders before anything can be
"If you want information, you'll have to contact the engineers."
The chamber holds an option on land near Tinker, Strasbaugh
said, but he refused to say where it was located or how many acres
In late January, U.S. Rep. Mickey Edwards, R-Okla., said the
government already was in the process of acquiring land at the
southwest corner of the intersection of SE 59th St. and S. Midwest
Blvd. near the General Motors Corp. assembly plant. The purchase
was reportedly being made by the General Services Administration.
Although Garrett's letter clears the path for immediate
construction, there was no word from the Navy Department as to when
it would begin. That information is expected today.
In that letter, Garrett said that Tinker is the most
cost-effective option for moving the E-6A "TACAMO" aircraft from the
Naval Air Station, Barbers Point, Hawaii and the Naval Air Station,
Patuxent River, Md.
"...This base (Tinker) affords maximum survivability against
Soviet attack," the letter said, "provides operation flexibility for
deployment for these vital communications assets, ensures effective
aircraft support and maintenance and is least costly to the