The group also annually sponsors the “Vance-Townie Golf Tournament,” at Oakwood Country Club, enabling local leaders to spend a day getting to know base personnel in a relaxed social setting.
Throughout the school year, Chapter 214 arranges for instructor pilots to speak to fifth-graders once a week about aviation and the Air Force. Every summer, the local chapter stages a flight camp for children in 4th through 6th grades. The camp culminates in the children getting flights thanks to local volunteer pilots, including Cox.
“They learned a little bit about aviation, a little bit about flight, how airplanes fly, but probably the biggest impression is the flight itself,” said Ohnesorge. “They’ll never forget that. If we have generated the interest in the Air Force, or just aviation itself, we’ve been successful.”
AFA stresses science, technology, engineering and math. The national organization sponsors a competition called CyberPatriot, which involves teams of high schoolers trying to thwart a mock cyber attack. CyberPatriot 2, which begins in September, will involve some 300 teams.
Chapter 214 erected a statue in front of Vance’s Operations Support Squadron building in 1974, donated a marble monument in the base air park in honor of the Air Force’s 50th anniversary in 1997, and raised funds for the “Pioneers Past, Present and Future,” statue dedicated in 2008 on Enid’s downtown Square.
During last fall’s open house and air show at Vance, the local AFA chapter sponsored a VIP tent for pilots and crews and a tent for the famed Air Force Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team. The group also held a reception for the Thunderbirds and invited all of its community partners.
“Those are the things we can do that the Air Force can’t do,” said Jacobs. “It is hard for them to blow their own horn, but we want to be able to show what they do out there. Vance is a tremendous treasure.”