Extending base-community ties through art, technology

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Tonita Sealy
  • 71st Force Support Squadron

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- In my 17 years of serving in the Air Force, Vance is the most unique assignment I have had.

Ask anyone to describe what it’s like to be stationed at Vance and it won’t take long before the conversation steers itself toward the size of the base. Not literally, as in miles and meters, but in total populace.

The “Vance experience” is often described as being similar to a remote tour, just stateside. That definition alludes to the strong relationships that are formed at Vance.

Those bonds not only stretch across the 71st Flying Training Wing, they flow through the main gate and thread throughout the entirety of the local Enid community.

The immensity of just how supported Vance is by the local community didn’t really resonate with me until I became the Career Assistance Advisor. While I do not make any official endorsement, I will note that Autry Technology Center has been a valuable partner to me in my current role.

Autry has provided countless tours to both base leadership and first-term Airmen.

They have hosted multiple professional development courses on their campus as well as on base.

They support our Airmen by providing a venue for them to take College-Level Examination Program and Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support tests.

Autry has granted over $4,600 to ensure that the men and women of Vance are afforded the opportunity to grow professionally.

And if all goes well, a portion of the next Airman Leadership School will be held at Autry in their state of the art classroom, fondly known as the “The Foxhole.”

Earlier in July, Vance and Autry celebrated their relationship by unveiling a sign at the Talon Institute for Professional Development, also known as the Professional Development Center on base.

The original design was crafted by Senior Master Sgt. Richard Parks Jr., Vance’s previous career assistance advisor. Through a collaborative effort using computer aided-drafting, welding technology and collision repair technology, Autry staff handcrafted the heritage memento.

Their donation will serve for years to come as a symbol of the positive relationship Vance has formed with the staff and students of Autry and their continued willingness to support the men and women of Vance.