McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

September 26, 2013

Vance will offer monthly training base tours

By Jeff Mullin, columnist
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Ever wonder what really goes on behind the gates at Vance Air Force Base? You soon will get the chance to find out.

Beginning in October, public tours of Vance Air Force Base will be offered on the second Tuesday of each month. The first tour will begin at 10 a.m. Oct. 8, and participants are asked to RSVP by Tuesday. Other tours are scheduled for Nov. 12, Dec. 10, Jan. 14 and Feb. 11. RSVP dates are one week prior to the tour. Tours are expected to last an hour and a half.

“I look at some other bases and saw other bases had tour programs,” said Jamie Topliff, Vance chief of community relations. “I thought about it and a lot of people have lived in the Enid community for years and years and they haven’t had an opportunity to come out and see what we do here at Vance.”

Each tour is limited to 25 people. Visitors must be at least 18 and must have a driver’s license or some other valid government-issue identification card, and must pass a background check performed by 71st Security Forces Squadron.

“We will need some base access information from them, their driver’s license number, date of birth and full name,” said Topliff.

Once they pass the background check, visitors will be able to drive on base, she said.

The tour will be by bus, and will include one stop, Topliff said.

“We will do a windshield tour,” said Topliff. “I will talk as we drive past different locations. We will make a stop, probably a different one for each tour. It could be to the military working dogs, to the flight line or to aerospace physiology.

Visitors will be allowed to bring cameras on the tours, she said.

Those interested in the tours are asked to call (580) 213-7136 or 213-7478. Anyone with a larger group wanting to tour the base should call the same numbers.

“If they have a bigger group, we can schedule a separate tour pending time and manning,” said Topliff.

The goal of the tour, she said, is “to tell the Enid community the Vance story. That is always the goal.

“It will be a fun program, I think. If you don’t have access to the base, it can be mysterious. Just to be able to see what goes on behind the gates will be interesting for people.”

For information, call 213-7136.