Vance – That’s the one with the beach right?

  • Published
  • By Maj. Thomas McGillicuddy
  • 71st Security Forces Squadron commander
No, it's the one in Oklahoma - with the pool. When I am questioned about my assignment here, I find it comical when I tell people I requested this assignment and they can't believe it.

It's true though - I asked for it, and I got it. I couldn't be happier either.

The welcome to the installation was the best one in 10 permanent changes of station. From the time I was greeted at the gate, to my reception at lodging and my subsequent in-processing - everything was done with a level of professionalism and motivation I had not experienced before.

Everyone was friendly, courteous and took the time to make sure my family and I were taken care of. I received the same kind of welcome in town - just because I was a servicemember.

To say the least, I was surprised, and I still can't place my finger on why, but Vance and the community of Enid are one of a kind.

I don't know if you notice, but we fly here. We do a lot of it, and every third Friday we graduate another class of aviators.

You can tell who they are, because after graduation they strut around leading small formations of friends and family all over the installation. They're proud, and they should be.

We (Vance) and our Air Force have spent millions of dollars and just as many man hours facilitating their training. Every time one of them graduates and earns their wings, so do we.

We are the only Air Education and Training Command pilot training base to have a 100 percent on-time graduation rate. That's phenomenal! We can boast about that, because as a team our efforts achieve those results. We develop, deliver and deploy Airpower.

If you think about what Vance does, it may not seem like much -- a couple dozen new pilots every few weeks.

However, I want you think about what that means. Each one is an operator of a multimillion dollar weapons system. Each one will leave here to fly and fight for our nation, and because of that we own the sky.

It's not an exaggeration either, because in the four wars I have served in; I have never had to worry about what was flying overhead. I knew without a doubt in each theater enemy air power did not exist, because we would not let it. No other nation on this earth can say they own the sky - we can.

Our Team, little Vance, we do that; we make it happen. We own the sky.

It explains why we carry ourselves the way we do; we have pride in what we are accomplishing.

Now, I'm a member of the best Group and Squadron on base, and you can't convince me otherwise. We have swag. What's unusual is everyone else on Vance thinks the same thing. 

The overall attitude of our installation is simple: We "Can Do, Easy" - every single day.
People talk about Vance at other assignments, they even joke about the beach.
Everyone I spoke to said pretty much the same thing: Vance isn't a big base, but it's a great place, and when you get there, you'll see why.

I asked for this assignment, and I'm privileged to be commanding the Defenders of the 71st Security Forces Squadron. Now that I've been here for a while; I know why this is a great base and a great place - even without the beach.