TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, OK — An East Orange native is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of the nation’s nuclear deterrence mission at Strategic Communications Wing One. Its “Take Charge and Move Out” mission provides airborne communication links to nuclear missile units of the U.S. Strategic Command.
Petty Officer 1st Class Anassa Tulloch, a 2007 Cicely L. Tyson Community School of Performing and Fine Arts graduate, joined the Navy seven years ago.
“I joined the Navy because I wanted the benefits the military provides,” Tulloch said, saying she uses skills and values similar to those found in East Orange to succeed in the Navy. “My hometown taught me how to be proactive under pressure.”
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.
Tulloch serves as an aviation mechanic with VQ-3.
“My favorite thing about my job is the people I get to meet and work with,” Tulloch said. “I meet people from rural areas and cities, and I like that part of my job.”
Strategic Communications Wing 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 “Take Charge and Move Out!” — now adapted as TACAMO, 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 in land-based missile silos. Sailors aboard TACAMO E-6 Mercury aircraft provide the one-of-a-kind and most-survivable communication needed for this mission.
“The Navy contributes to the National Defense Strategy because we can be anywhere at any time in a moment’s notice,” Tulloch said. “My proudest Navy accomplishment is learning the skills necessary to be successful in my current field. I never thought I would learn anything like this, so it’s awesome being able to serve my country and learn about aviation equipment.
“To me, serving in the Navy means stability,” Tulloch continued. “It means a contribution to the country. It also means I get to follow in the footsteps of those that have served before me. I love the traditions of the Navy and I’m honored to be able to continue to carry them out.”
As an immigrant to the United States, Tulloch feels especially honored to serve.
“Shout out to the first generation of American immigrants serving in the military, like me,” Tulloch said. “We are embracing our American culture while getting to share our background with our fellow service members that may come from a tradition of U.S. military service.”