TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Oklahoma — A 2014 Carthage High School graduate and Carthage native in the U.S. Navy supports the nation’s nuclear deterrence mission.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Marinna Collins is a Navy aviation machinist’s mate serving with Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron 4, a versatile command operating E6-B Mercury aircraft under USSTRATCOM operational control providing a survivable and endurable airborne communications link to the nation’s strategic forces.
Collins is responsible for maintaining engines on naval aircraft and credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Carthage.
“In my hometown, I was in marching band, and we treated each other like family,” Collins said. “If any of your sailors have anything going on at home or at work, you treat them like a family member, so that lesson stuck with me.”
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.
“Serving here keeps me on my toes,” said Collins. “It makes me think, and I like to work with my hands, so working here keeps me going.”
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.
“Being a part of this mission gives me pride in my work,” said Collins. “What I do keeps the mission going.”
Sailors serving from America’s heartland take pride in the vital mission they support as well as the nuclear deterrence they help provide.
“Serving in the Navy gives me pride in what I do,” said Collins. “It makes me feel like my hometown can be proud of what I do.”