The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Summer of '68

July 13, 2008

Vietnam dominated life at Vance


Allen, a native of Crawfordsville, Ind., received the outstanding flying award for his class at Vance, 69-06. He would go on to fly two space shuttle missions, a five-day flight aboard Columbia, in November 1982. Two years later he flew aboard Discovery on an eight-day mission. In all, he logged 314 hours in space.

After leaving NASA, Allen served as chairman of the board of Veridian Corp. He is a member of both the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in Stillwater and the Astronauts Hall of Fame.

Henize, who was born in Cincinnati, flew on only one space shuttle mission, aboard Challenger for the Spacelab-2 mission in 1985. He logged a total of 188 hours in space. In 1986 he took a position as senior scientist in NASA’s Space Sciences branch.

He died in October 1993 of respiratory and heart failure during a failed attempt to climb Mount Everest.

In 1968 Vance was the only base in Air Training Command to have civilian contractors performing support functions. Serv-Air Inc., was the contractor at the time.

Vance hosted two premier flying demonstration teams in 1968. Aug. 6 the Air Force Thunderbirds performed at the base in their F-100 SuperSabres, drawing more than 5,000 spectators. Then, Oct. 25, the Navy’s Blue Angels performed at Vance before a crowd of some 6,000 people.

In 1968 there were separate commanders for the base and for the 3575th Pilot Training Wing. Col. Charles H. Christmas was base commander, while Col. William D. Conklin was wing commander. In April of 1968, Conklin was replaced by Col. Max J. King.

Also in 1968 three of the first six Marines to go through undergraduate pilot training graduated from Vance. The others graduated from Laredo AFB, Texas.

Vance helped Enid and northwest Oklahoma celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Cherokee Strip Land Run in 1968, while the base itself celebrated its own 27th birthday.

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Summer of '68