ENID, Okla. — The connection between Vance Air Force Base and Enid runs deep. Vance is celebrating its 80th birthday this month, and the community is invited to join in the celebration.
The family friendly event Sept. 17, 2021, will feature a flyover, a static display of historic planes, a presentation and discussion between Vance and the city, according to a release from Vance.
“We are excited for two reasons, first for our birthday, but more importantly in this instance is the relationship with Vance Air Force Base and the community,” said Col. Jay Johnson, commander of the 71st Flying Training Wing at Vance. “I’ve been doing this almost 23 years, and I have never seen a relationship like what I’ve seen with the community here and the base. It is absolutely fantastic.”
Johnson said in a town where the mayor is a retired Air Force major, the support is incredible.
”We are just as excited about celebrating our relationship with the city, as we are celebrating our birthday,” he said.
From base security to airmen volunteering in the community, Enid Mayor George Pankonin agrees with Johnson’s assessment of the base and city’s partnership.
“The strong relationship between the city of Enid and Vance Air Force Base is well known across the entire Air Force,” Pankonin said. “Enid welcomed the Army Air Corps (before there was a U.S. Air Force) to the community 80 years ago. The base and community started this strong relationship of mutual respect and support on day one. I believe our relationship has never been stronger than it is today. The 80th anniversary is a great example of the base and the city celebrating their long-term relationship with each other.”
The celebration is open to the public and will be held at Enid Woodring Regional Airport. Gates open at 5 p.m. before the 6:15 p.m. ceremony. Vance’s heritage tails will fly over and land. There will be a kiddie area and food trucks.
After the event, there will be a ticketed after-party at the hangar hosted by the Vance Spouse’s Club and the Air Force Association. The after-party is a 1940s-style dance. Tickets for the public are $35 and can be purchased from Stride Bank Center’s website.
“We are excited to go back to our roots with our 1940s heritage,” Johnson said. “We will honor those that paved the path for us and honor the town at the same time, and celebrate our birthday. We have all kinds of reasons to celebrate on the 17th.”