Vance Air Force Base (IATA: END, ICAO: KEND, FAA LID: END) is a United States Air Force base located in southern Enid, Oklahoma, about 65 mi (105 km) north northwest ofOklahoma City. The base is named after local World War II hero and Medal of Honorrecipient, Lt Col Leon Robert Vance Jr.
The host unit at Vance is the 71st Flying Training Wing (71 FTW), which is a part of Air Education and Training Command (AETC). The commander of the 71 FTW is Colonel Clark J. Quinn. The vice-commander is Colonel John J. Menozzi and the command chief is Chief Master Sergeant Peter A. Speen
|Vance Air Force Base|
|Part of Air Education and Training Command (AETC)|
|Located in Enid, Oklahoma|
T-6A Texan II four-ship formation photo from Vance AFB
|Controlled by||United States Air Force|
71st Flying Training Wing
|IATA: END – ICAO: KEND – FAA LID: END|
|Elevation AMSL||1,297 ft / 395 m|
Construction began on 12 July 1941 for a cost of $4,034,583. Army Air Corps Project Officer, Major Henry W. Dorr supervised the construction and developed the basic pilot training base. In 1941, for the sum of $1 a year, this land was leased from the city of Enid to the federal government as a site for a pilot training field, and on November 21 the base was officially activated. The installation was without a name but was generally referred to as Air Corps Basic Flying School. The mission of the school was to train aviation cadets to become aircraft pilots and commissioned officers in the United States Army Air Forces.
The facility was assigned to the AAF Gulf Coast Training Center, with the Army Air Force Pilot School (Primary) activated (phase 1 pilot training), in which flight cadets were taught basic flight using two-seater training aircraft.Fairchild PT-19s were the primary trainer used.
It was not until 1942, that the base was officially named Enid Army Flying School, also known as Woodring Field. It was officially activated on 11 February 1942. On 8 January 1943, the War Department constituted and activated the 31st Flying Training Wing (Primary) at Enid and assigned it to the AAF Central Flying Training Command. For the duration of the war, the basic phase of training graduated 8,169 students, while the advanced phase of training graduated 826.
As the demand for pilots decreased with the end of the war in Europe, the Enid Army Flying Field was deactivated on 2 July 1945 and was transferred to the Army Corps of Engineers on 2 July 1946.
The base was reactivated on January 13, 1948, and its name changed to Enid Air Force Base, as one of the pilot training bases within the Air Training Command (ATC). Its mission was to provide training for advanced students in multi-engine aircraft.
In keeping with the Air Force tradition of naming bases for deceased Air Force flyers, on July 9, 1949, the base was renamed after a local World War II hero and Medal of Honor recipient, Lt Col Leon Robert Vance, Jr.
The first aircraft flown at Vance was the BT-13A, followed shortly by the BT-15. In 1944, advanced students flew the TB-25 and TB-26. Following the establishment of U.S. Air Force as a separate service in September 1947, Vance began training in the AT-6 and eventually the T-33 Shooting Star. The T-37 Tweet flew at Vance beginning in 1961, and the T-38 Talon in 1963 as the Air Force transitioned to its Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) system.
In 1995 Air Force officials announced that Vance would transition to the Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training curriculum. Under SUPT, Vance students begin their training in the Beechcraft T-6 Texan II, followed by the T-1A Jayhawk for students identified for jet tanker, transport or large reconnaissance aircraft, and the T-38 Talon for fighter, bomber and other USAF fixed-wing aircraft. With the introduction of the Joint Primary Aircraft Training System (JPATS) to Vance in 2005, the 71 FTW began transitioning from the T-37 to the newer T-6 Texan II. Joint training with the United States Navy began at Vance in 1996, with select USN and USMC strike jet student naval aviators obtaining all training at Vance except for carrier qualification, which they subsequently complete in the T-45 Goshawk at NAS Meridian, Mississippi or NAS Kingsville, Texas. A number of senior naval aviators in the rank of commander have also served as flying training squadron (FTS) commanders in the 71 FTW. Today Student Naval Aviators undergo only T-6 training at Vance. Students practice basic patterns and landings at Kegelman Air Force Auxiliary Field located near Cherokee, Oklahoma. Vance is considered the second busiest RAPCON facility in the United States, behind Nellis AFB. Nellis is open 24 hours, but Vance has more traffic per hour.