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❝I saw the smoke from my school building.❞ — Senior Airman Nicholas Figueroa, 71st Security Forces Squadron (SFS) member at Vance Air Force Base. He was 9 years old living in Manhattan when the Twin Towers fell.

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Col. Eileen Collins graduated Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance in 1978. She was one of the first four women to go through the program and was the first female T-38 instructor pilot, according to a March 2021 interview between Collins and Taylor Watson with the Daedalians, a fellowship of military aviators.

Twenty-four students received their wings Aug. 27 when Class 21-14 AU graduated from Undergraduate Pilot Training at Vance Air Force Base.

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From the first class of aviation cadets that arrived at Enid Army Air Field on Dec. 16, 1941, to the classes today, Undergraduate Pilot Training has seen changes to aircraft, simulators, syllabus and more.

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The family friendly event will feature a flyover, a static display of historic planes, a presentation and discussion between Vance and the city. The celebration is open to the public at Enid Woodring Regional Airport. Gates open at 5 p.m. before the 6:15 ceremony. Vance’s heritage tails will fly over and land. There will be a kiddie area, face painting and food trucks.

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❝That farm was their livelihood, and Ernest, as patriotic as he was, knew that selling it to the Army would mean ending the family tradition of running that farm.❞ — Chief Master Sgt. Kristy Earls, 71st FTW command chief

Maj. Floyd E. Welsh, as property officer, had the responsibility of evaluating property no longer needed by the military. An Enid Army Flying Field folder crossed his desk as one of the installations considered for permanent closure due to the decreased need for pilots. Welsh put the folder in his desk drawer where it remained for two years, according to Oklahoma Historical Society.

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The airmen leading the charge on Undergraduate Pilot Training 2.5 for the 71st Flying Training Wing at Vance Air Force Base shared their success and challenges with more than 100 airmen, Guardians and soldiers during a summit hosted by the AFWERX Las Vegas Hub, June 22-25.

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Gone were the days of gazing skyward or smelling the air. I was trained to think of the atmosphere as a fluid, with flows and eddies comparable to the ocean. 

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. — The 314th Airlift Wing hosted three first assignment instructor pilots (FAIPs) from Vance Air Force Base at Little Rock Air Force Base June 22 to highlight and share a new way forward in the pilot training process, which ultimately bridges the gap between Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) and the Formal Training Unit (FTU) at the 314th AW.

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Last month, Lt. Col. Kenyatta Ruffin, past 71st Operations Support Squadron commander, helped honor his childhood role model, retired Brig. Gen. Charles E. McGee, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen.

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Master Sgt. Angela Dewberry retired from active duty during a ceremony held June 29, in the Greven Crosswinds Club at Vance Air Force Base.

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ENID, Okla. — Repair or replacement of aging dormitories at Vance Air Force Base is among the provisions authored by U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe and included in the fiscal year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act.

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Col. Paul Miller assumed command of the 71st Mission Support Group from Col. Anthony Smith in a ceremony July 1 in Hangar 129.

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❝I grew up here in Enid, watching T-37s and T-6s fly, and it was always something that I thought was very cool, but never seemed realistic ... but I fell in love with it.❞ — 2nd Lt. Bartolozzi

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Five Class 21-11 and six 21-11 AU graduates were awarded during a graduation ceremony June 18 at Vance Air Force Base Auditorium.

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Col. Jay Johnson, 71st Flying Training Wing commander at Vance Air Force Base, will speak Friday at the graduation ceremony for Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 21-11.

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City of Enid CFO Erin Crawford said audited franchise providers would include ONG, OG&E, Suddenlink and various landline phone companies, while hotels would be any lodging locations paying lodging tax revenue to the city of Enid.

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Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian is the graduation speaker during the first Class 21-10 ceremony of 18 students, set for 10 a.m. Thursday in the Base Auditorium. The second ceremony for AU students is set for 1 p.m.

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The airmen of the 71st Security Forces Squadron commemorated all those who protect and serve May 11-15 during Team Vance’s Police Week celebrations, which included a 24-hour march.

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Having been EPS’ honorary, non-voting school board member for the last two school years, Col. Anthony Smith will leave Enid at the end of June to take his new post at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. Starting July 1, Smith will begin his 13th assignment as comptroller for the base’s air mobility command.

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Eighteen members of Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 21-09 at Vance Air Force Base will receive their wings Friday.

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The city is proposing $170 million in budgeted total revenue and $179.5 million in total expenses — an increase by about $13 million in revenue and $16.6 million in expenses from the current fiscal year that ends June 30, the city's accounting manager said.

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A new Diversity and Inclusion Council took shape at Vance Air Force Base on April 5, 2021, to help the 71st Flying Training Wing celebrate diverse cultures, experiences, perspectives and backgrounds.

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Student pilots here hit yet another milestone April 2 as the first 17 Undergraduate Pilot Training 2.5 graduates crossed the stage and received their wings.

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VANCE AIR FORCE BASE — Team Vance leadership cut the ribbon on a new Sexual Assault Response Coordinator facility during a ceremony April 1 to kick off the base’s annual Sexual Assault Awareness Month campaign.

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