TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Oklahoma – A Xenia 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.
Chief Petty Officer Katie Hill, a 2006 Xenia High School graduate, joined the Navy 11 years ago.
“I joined the Navy to experience the world,” said Hill. “I wanted to travel and experience different cultures.”
Hill uses skills and values taught by family back home in Xenia to succeed in the Navy.
“During my childhood, my mother prepared me for life and to succeed in the Navy,” said Hill. “I want to thank my parents and my siblings Amanda Hill, Emily Keeney and Frank Hill, and their families for all of their support. I love and miss them very much.”
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.
Hill serves as a yeoman with VQ 4.
“My sailors are the best part of my day,” said Hill. “I enjoy working and mentoring them to help them achieve their goals.”
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 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.
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 Hill 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 is important to the National Defense Strategy because we keep the seas safe and open for global commerce,” said Hill.
Hill and the sailors they serve with have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.
“My proudest accomplishment is watching my sailors succeed,” said Hill. “I truly enjoy helping others get the training and support they need to succeed. Their success is my success in a way.”
As Hill and other sailors continue to perform missions, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy. “The Navy allows me to be an everlasting role model for my daughter and the sailors that come after me,” added Hill.