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Thursday, July 4, 2019


Airman Nicholas Romero, United States Navy Naval Aircrewman.

 Photo by Dusty Good.

Editor’s Note:  Usually, this blog devotes space every July to recalling the gallantry and sacrifice Americans made in 1863 during the Battles of Gettysburg but when we noticed the following article we realized we needed to thank those who are working today to make our nation the best and the safest.  It is a well-done article about one dedicated sailor stationed in the middle of America’s heartland—miles from any ocean. His story deserves our attention.

GUEST BLOG / By Lt. Cmdr. Gustav Hein, Navy Office of Community Outreach—Airman Nicholas Romero is based in Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma.  He and other sailors are there to support the nation’s nuclear deterrence mission. 

Romero, a 2014 Horizon Christian Academy graduate and Chula Vista, CA native, is a Navy naval aircrewman (avionics) serving with the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Detachment Tinker, a versatile command capable of providing maintenance training, centralized student management and support to E-6B Mercury aviation squadrons consisting of VQ-3 and VQ-4 in the execution of their training responsibilities.

Technical and vital to this nation’s defense but it doesn’t give Airman Romero much time on the beach.  But he’s not complaining Romero credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons he learned growing up in Chula Vista.

“I learned to be flexible and adaptive,” said Romero. “It is very fast paced and you have got to be ready for anything.”

Romero is responsible for performing maintenance on the communication and electronic systems during the mission.

And that mission stems from the original 1961 Cold War order is 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.

“Its very team oriented and everyone has a high level of responsibility which encourages every crew member to do their best,” said Romero.

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.

“It means training every day so that we can be prepared for the worst case scenario, which we hope never happens,” said Romero.

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 means sacrificing my time and effort so that other Americans can enjoy their freedom and liberties,” said Romero.

So next time you’re in Oklahoma and see a sailor you’ll know why he or she is there.

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