552nd ACW dedicates ‘Fannin Hall’ in honor of fallen Airman
By Mike W. Ray , Tinker Public Affairs
/ Published January 10, 2014
TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --
In a special ceremony Monday attended by a host of federal, state and local officials and Tinker officers and enlisted personnel, the 552nd Air Control Wing renamed its Operations Group Auditorium in honor of one of its members who was killed last year in Afghanistan.
The "OGA" was renamed "Fannin Hall" in honor of Staff Sgt. Daniel Fannin, who died in the crash of an MC-12W twin-engine turboprop aircraft during an intelligence-gathering mission that departed from Kandahar Airfield on April 27, 2013, less than three weeks after his 30th birthday. Prior to his deployment to Southwest Asia, Sergeant Fannin served at Tinker with the 960th Airborne Air Control Squadron.
The auditorium was constructed in the 1970s, and over the past four decades "it has been visited by every member who was assigned to the AWACS team," related Col. Jay Bickley, commander of the 552nd Air Control Wing.
The auditorium is where newly arriving Airmen are welcomed to the 552nd ACW, "where we gather with family and friends to say our goodbyes as we send our Airmen off to combat or to welcome our heroes home" from deployments across the globe. "To anyone who is part of our organization, this room is much more than just an auditorium," Colonel Bickley said. "It is where we come together in camaraderie to support each other and our families."
On that fateful day eight and a half months ago, Sergeant Fannin and his three crewmates "joined a long blue line of heroic aviators who have paid the ultimate price so that our nation may continue to be free," the colonel continued. "We all owe Daniel a debt of gratitude..." The auditorium has been named in honor of this fallen warrior "so all of us are reminded of his sacrifice, and the sacrifice of his family, each time we enter it."
In addition, Colonel Bickley and Sergeant Fannin's widow, Sonja, unveiled an engraved plaque that will be displayed at the entrance to the auditorium.
It tells that during the two months Sergeant Fannin served in Afghanistan, "while exposed to four indirect fire attacks," he synchronized more than 140 hours of critical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance coverage to more than 20 multinational units, "fusing the efforts of airborne sensor and signal operators with ground coalition units, enabling over 30 combat missions and two personnel-recovery events...
His "superior efforts" culminated in the discovery of two weapons and narcotics caches, detention of two high-value targets, and the geo-location of nearly 30 insurgents, the plaque continues. "His efforts ensured over 200 aircrew members were adequately prepared to execute more than 600 sorties and 3,000 combat hours monthly..."
At the time of his death, Sergeant Fannin had served in the Air Force for 11 years and had logged 892 combat flying hours.
State Rep. Scott Inman of Del City presented a citation from Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin to Mrs. Fannin, to the sergeant's mother, Sharri Hamm-Jones, and to other family members, in recognition of the sergeant's "outstanding service to this country." The legislator also presented Mrs. Fannin with a flag that flew over the State Capitol on Nov. 11, 2013, Veterans Day.
Oklahoma's politicians -- local, state and federal alike -- "all understand who the real heroes are," Representative Inman said. "They're the men and women who are assembled in this room today, and our veterans." Staff Sgt. Daniel Fannin was "truly a hero."