TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – A 2015 Patrick Henry High School graduate and Minneapolis native in the U.S. Navy supports the nation’s nuclear deterrence mission.
Airman Halimah Abdul-Wahid is a Navy aircrew survival equipmentman serving with Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron 3, a versatile command capable of operating E6-B Mercury aircraft under USSTRATCOM operational control providing a survivable and endurable airborne communications link to the nation’s strategic forces. Abdul-Wahid is responsible making sure that all aircrew survival equipment on the E-6B aircraft is operational. She credits success in the Navy to many of the lessons learned growing up in Minneapolis.
“I learned to value family,” said Abdul-Wahid. “This taught me treat my shipmates as a family and my command as my community.”
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 the mission.
“I love the fact that I am able to have my daughter with me,” said Abdul-Wahid.
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, said a Navy spokesperson.
“We ensure that America is able to fight back if ever attacked by an adversary,” said Abdul-Wahid.
Abdul-Wahid, serving from America’s heartland, said she takes pride in the vital mission
“The Navy has given me the opportunity to travel the world and learn about different cultures,” said Abdul-Wahid. “As a resilient, Muslim woman, I knew I was going to make a career out of the Navy the day I gave birth to my daughter.”