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Osage Nation commemorates 75th anniversary of Tinker Air Force Base

The Osage Nation is commemorating the 75th anniversary of Tinker Air Force Base named after the late Maj. Gen. Clarence Tinker, an Osage born just north of Pawhuska.

On April 8, the ON Office of the Chiefs hosted a reception in the Nation’s Interpretive Center for people to meet Tinker’s grandson Phillip Tinker as part of recognizing the Oklahoma City air base facility named after the Major General who perished in action during World War II.

ON government officials including Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear and Assistant Principal Chief Raymond Red Corn joined Tinker and other Tinker family members for the social event, which included several photos of Maj. Gen. Tinker on display. Other attending family members included Randy Tinker Smith and her daughter Jenna Smith and Dr. Patrick Tinker.

According to ON information on Maj. Gen. Tinker, he was born on Nov. 21, 1887 to George Edward Tinker and Sarah Anna Schwagerte Tinker. In 1920, Tinker joined the Air Service and served in several military posts including Assistant Military Attaché for Aviation in London (1926), Commandant of the Air Corps Advanced Flying School in Texas and three years in Washington, D.C. as chief of the Aviation Division, National Guard Bureau.

After the December 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Tinker was appointed Commander of the Air Forces in Hawaii to reorganize the air defenses of the island. According to an August 2013 Air Force News Agency article, Tinker died on June 7, 1942 when his B-42 Liberator disappeared through a formation of clouds over the Pacific Ocean during a mission on Wake Island that he chose to personally lead. Neither the plane nor the eight crew members were ever found. Tinker received the Distinguished Service Medal posthumously for leading the mission.

On Oct. 14, 1942, the Oklahoma City Air Depot installation was designated as Tinker Field at the direction of Gen. Henry H. “Hap” Arnold, Commanding General of the Army Air Forces.

2017 Star Spangled Air Show

As part of Tinker Air Force Base commemoration activities, the 2017 Star Spangled Air Show will be held May 20-21. Standing Bear will be attending the event (free admission to the public) and is inviting Osage children to attend the May 20 air show activities.

According to the Office of the Chiefs, transportation will be provided to the air show for Osage children in grades 1st-12th and registration is required due to limited seating availability. The transportation will be available for youth and chaperones and any parents interested in attending will be responsible for their own transportation. Deadline for air show transportation registration is April 28.

For more information on the air show and registration, contact Office of the Chiefs Executive Assistant Melissa Cole at (918) 287-9714 or


Benny Polacca

Original Publish Date: 2017-04-18 00:00:00

Benny Polacca

Title: Senior Reporter


Instagram: @bpolacca

Topic Expertise: Government, Tribal Government, Community

Languages spoken: English, basic knowledge of Spanish and French

Benny Polacca (Hopi/ Havasupai/ Pima/ Tohono O’odham) started working at the Osage News in 2009 as a reporter in Pawhuska, Okla., where he’s covered various stories and events that impact the Osage Nation and Osage people. Those newspaper contributions cover a broad spectrum of topics and issues from tribal government matters to features. As a result, Polacca has gained an immeasurable amount of experience in covering Native American affairs, government issues and features so the Osage readership can be better informed about the tribal current affairs the newspaper covers.

Polacca is part of the Osage News team that was awarded the Native American Journalists Association's Elias Boudinet Free Press Award in 2014 and has won numerous NAJA media awards, as well as awards from the Oklahoma Press Association and SPJ Oklahoma Pro Chapter, for storytelling coverage and photography.

Polacca earned his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and also participated in the former American Indian Journalism Institute at the University of South Dakota where he was introduced to the basics of journalism and worked with seasoned journalists there and later at The Forum daily newspaper covering the Fargo, N.D. area where he worked as the weeknight reporter.


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