Retiring after four decades of dedicated service

  • Published
  • By Maj. Edward Wilson Jr.
  • 552nd Air Control Network Squadron

After 40 years of dedicated government service, Carol E. Drink, the 552 Air Control Network Squadron’s Requirements and Resources chief will celebrate her retirement on Aug. 27, 2021 at the Tinker Air Force Base Event Center.

Since her promotion in 2020, Drink has ensured the overall configuration management and sunset of several legacy E-3 system applications and ensured critical updates, enhancing the squadron’s Mission Defense Team mission.

Drink is an alumnus of Langston University’s Computer Operator education program, and was hired at Tinker AFB in May 1981 to write computer programs for the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex.

“I was lucky, no blessed, to have Mrs. Drink as my supervisor and mentor,” said Master Sgt. Jena A. Taylor, a former flight chief for Drink. “She has the ability to empower her people and push them to their full potential without you realizing she is doing it. She leads with compassion and wisdom. Congratulations on your retirement Mrs. Drink.”

During her career Drink stood up a small computer technical center for automating countless manual tasks across the base. Additionally she coded programs to assist Tinker employees to automate tasks, she streamlined data entry and made queries for report generation for operators.

Drink served in the then 552nd Computer System Squadron as a Computer Programmer Analyst, known now as the 552nd Air Control Network Squadron. She was an expert E-3 programmer analyst for 833 projects comprising of many critical software releases that enabled warfighters to execute missions worldwide.

In 2017, Drink was promoted to Flight Commander of SCX Plans and Resources Flight, where she led a 41 member team, supervising innovative E-3 application improvements, plans and programs, and cybersecurity efforts, which enabled the 552 Air Control Wing’s overall E-3 and CRC missions. 

Drink wrote code for several initiatives including the Combined Federal Campaign fund for donation tracking and the Tinker Youth Center for education software that supports upcoming youth in their career development futures.

Drink plans to enjoy her retirement with her family. She and husband, Ronald and their two daughters, Candice and Raina are planning to take a cruise. She wants to catch up on some reading and binge watch Godfather of Harlem, Black Lightening, and Game of Thrones.

When asked for final words of wisdom, Drink replied simply, "Mission first, people always."