Leaders hail 552nd ACW's 60th anniversary

  • Published
  • By John Parker and Darren D. Heusel
  • Tinker Public Affairs
Bookended with addresses from two former wing commanders, the 552nd Air Control Wing's three-day Diamond Anniversary Salute "exceeded all expectations," wing Commander Col. Jay Bickley said.

The extravaganza drew hundreds of distinguished visitors, past wing commanders, current and former Airmen, family members and community guests for activities May 7-9. The 60th anniversary events included a 5K run, golf tournament, tours, festivities and a Saturday evening gala.

"It was a tremendous tribute to the men and women of the 552nd ACW past and present, and I'm sure it won't soon be forgotten," Colonel Bickley said. "We owe a lot of thanks and gratitude to all of Team Tinker and our community partners for pulling it all together."

Pacific Air Forces Commander Gen. Lori J. Robinson spoke at the kickoff reception May 7 in the Tinker Club ballroom. The general is a former 552nd ACW commander.
"We all stand on the shoulders of giants," the general said. "You all are making history every day. What you do is important, and we talk about it at the most senior-level places ... The four stars know that what you bring to the fight each and every day is important, and we couldn't do it without you."

Colonel Bickley unveiled a 60th anniversary commemorative lithograph by aviation artist Darby Perrin as a gift to the Pacific Air Forces. General Robinson joked that she could now tell Pacific Air Forces that she'll be bringing back another much-wanted E-3 for them.

"Congratulations to the 552nd Air Control Wing and the families," the general said. "We couldn't do it without our spouses and families. I don't know how to thank you enough for what you do each and every day."

Lt. Gen. James M. Kowalski, U.S. Strategic Command deputy commander and a former 552nd ACW commander, was the keynote speaker at a gala at the Petroleum Club, May 9, in downtown Oklahoma City.

General Kowalski referred to the men and women of the airborne early warning community both past and present as a "band of brothers," adding that their contribution to the warfighter over the past 60 years is beyond reproach.

"The 552nd ACW has a tremendous history and reputation," he said. "Since its inception 60 years ago, the 552nd has been involved in every significant combat operation the United States has participated in and has performed with distinction. It is a true honor to be among those who have had the privilege of commanding it."

General Kowalski also highlighted the relationship the 552nd ACW enjoys with its community partners. Their support to the wing is unlike anything he's experienced throughout his career, he said.