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Oklahoma State Senate
Communications Division
State Capitol
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105

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For Immediate Release: May 6, 2008

Senator Cliff and DeeAnn Aldridge at unveiling of Tinker Field painting at State Capitol.
Sen. Aldridge and his wife DeeAnn admire the painting following its unveiling on the Senate floor.

Painting of “Tinker Field” Dedicated at Capitol

The state Senate dedicated another original painting Tuesday morning. “Tinker Field”, by Midwest City artist R.T. Foster, is sponsored by Senator Cliff and DeeAnn Aldridge and commissioned by the Oklahoma State Senate Historical Preservation Fund.

“DeeAnn and I are so honored to sponsor this beautiful piece of art,” said Aldridge, R-Midwest City. “Tinker has played a tremendous role not only in our state’s economy being the largest employer, but over the years and even today it continues to be a strong link in our country’s military system.”

The history of Tinker Air Force Base began in 1940 when a group of Oklahoma City businessmen learned that the War Department was considering the central United States as a location for a maintenance and supply depot. City leaders offered a 480 acre site with an option of 960 additional acres of land. On April 8, 1941, the order was officially signed awarding the depot to Oklahoma City.

“I love this painting because it memorializes an incredible American, Major Tinker and at the same time honors all of those Oklahomans who work or have worked at Tinker and helped make it the outstanding Air Force Base that it is today,” said Ford, President of the Senate Art Fund.

During World War II, Tinker’s industrial plant repaired B-24 and B-17 bombers and fitted B-29s for combat. In 1946, Tinker was expanded to include the Douglas Aircraft plant, which produced approximately half of the C-47 Skytrains used in WWII. The site also produced a number of A-20 Havocs.

Throughout the Korean conflict, Tinker continued with aircraft and supply support to the Far East. During Vietnam, Tinker supplied logistics and communications aid to Air Force units in Southeast Asia. In the 1990’s, Tinker provided front-line support to the forces engaged in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Today, the base has more than 26,000 military and civilian employees and is the largest single-site employer in Oklahoma. It is the home of the Air Force Materiel Command, Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center, which is the worldwide manager for a wide range of aircraft, engines, missiles, software and avionics components.

Among its distinctions, Tinker Air Force Base was the site of the first successful tornado forecast in history, which was issued on March 25, 1948 about three hours before a tornado hit the southeast corner of the base. A granite marker in the Heritage Airpark on the base commemorates the event.

Tinker Air Force Base was named in honor of Major General Clarence L. Tinker, a native of Pawhuska, Oklahoma. General Tinker lost his life while leading a flight of LB-30 Liberators on a long-range strike against Japanese forces on Wake Island during the early months of World War II.

The base lies within Senate District 42, Senator Aldridge’s district. His wife and he married in 1984 and bought a home in Midwest City. There he began his career as an agent with Farmers Insurance Agency where he has been for 23 years. The Aldridge’s have three daughters, Cara, Courtney and Chloe. Cliff is an active member in the Choctaw Kiwanis, Midwest City Rotary and the Midwest City Chamber of Commerce. The family attends Del City Church of Christ.

For more information contact:
Pam Hodges' Office:  (405) 521-5675

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