TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. - A 2015 Ceres High School graduate and Ceres native is serving in the U.S. Navy as part of the nation's nuclear deterrence mission at Strategic Communications Wing ONE.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Zachary Jones is an equipment operator assigned to Tinker Air Force Base where Strategic Communications Wing One is headquartered.
As a Navy equipment operator, Jones operates and maintains all the larger vehicles at TACAMO.
"I learned to never quit anything you commit to," said Jones. "My grandpa was in the Army for six years in the Airborne during Vietnam and I'm proud to serve in the Navy now."
The 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, today, 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 critical mission.
"I'm honored to serve with the men and women who help keep our nation safe through nuclear deterrence," said Captain Edward McCabe, commodore, Strategic Communications Wing ONE. "Their dedication to our mission is a testament to our mantra of Take Charge and Move Out!"
The command consists of three squadrons and a wing staff that employs more than 1,200 active-duty sailors who provide maintenance, security, operations, administration, training and logistic support for the TACAMO aircraft fleet.
"Getting meritoriously promoted to 3rd class made me feel proud of my accomplishments that got me to this point," said Jones.
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.
Sailors serving from America's heartland take pride in the vital mission they support as well as the nuclear deterrence they help provide.
"It gives me a sense of service, providing help where needed while supporting freedom and democracy around the world," said Jones.