TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – A Mechanicsville, Maryland, native is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of the nation’s nuclear deterrence mission at Strategic Communications Wing One (STRATCOMMWING ONE). Its TACAMO (“Take Charge and Move Out”) mission provides airborne communication links to nuclear missile units of U.S. Strategic Command.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Tyler Reed, a 2012 Chopticon High School graduate, joined the Navy 10 years ago.
“I was probably one of the youngest kids to still remember 9/11,” said Reed. “That inspired me to join the military.”
Reed uses skills and values similar to those found in Mechanicsville to succeed in the Navy.
“My hometown taught me to reach for new opportunities,” said Reed.
The Navy’s presence aboard an Air Force base in the middle of America may seem like an odd location given its distance from any ocean; however, the central location allows for the deployment of aircraft to both coasts and the Gulf of Mexico on a moment’s notice. This quick response is key to the success of the nuclear deterrence mission.
The Navy command consists of a Wing staff, the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training, and three Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadrons: The “Ironmen” of VQ 3, the “Shadows” of VQ 4, and the “Roughnecks” of VQ 7.
Reed serves at the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training as an aviation electrician’s mate.
“My favorite part about my job is getting to learn a little bit about everything,” said Reed. “I have to know what everyone else is doing in order to accomplish my own job.”
STRATCOMMWING One employs more than 1,300 active-duty sailors and 100 contractors to provide maintenance, security, operations, administration, training, and logistic support for the Boeing E-6 Mercury aircraft fleet, an airborne command post, and communications relay based on the Boeing 707.
Their mission stems from the original 1961 Cold War order known as ‘Take Charge and Move Out!’ Adapted as TACAMO and now the command’s nickname, the men and women of TACAMO continue to provide a survivable communication link between national decision makers and the nation’s nuclear weapons.
The commander-in-chief issues orders to members of the military who operate nuclear weapons aboard submarines, aircraft, or land-based missile silos. Sailors aboard TACAMO E-6 Mercury aircraft provide the one-of-a-kind and most-survivable communication needed for this critical mission.
With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.
Serving in the Navy means Reed is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances, and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.
“The Navy contributes to the National Defense Strategy by producing high-quality sailors,” said Reed. “We’re here to support freedom of navigation missions around the world.”
Reed and the sailors they serve with have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.
“My proudest accomplishment in the Navy is having the opportunity to go back to school for free,” said Reed. “The Navy has given me the chance to study aeronautics at Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University. That’s something I’m proud of.”
As Reed and other sailors continue to perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.
“The Navy provides me with new and interesting challenges every single day,” added Reed.