State tree planted to commemorate AAFB history Published May 13, 2022 By Senior Airman Kayla Christenson 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Leaders from the 97th Air Mobility Wing and local community planted an eastern redbud, the Oklahoma state tree, in the Wings of Freedom Park at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, May 2, 2022. The tree planting commemorates the labor, loyalty, and cooperation of all who have contributed to AAFB’s legacy and mission over the last 80 years. “The state tree symbolizes America’s springtime,” said Melissa Sims, 97th Air Mobility Wing historian. “It is fitting to choose this tree since the construction of the base began and ended in the spring.” During the ceremony, Master Sgt. Brett Devor, 97th Communications Squadron flight chief, read the history and importance of the tree. “I’m very grateful for having the opportunity to honor the heritage of 80 years of airpower here at Altus AFB,” said Devor. “It’s not every day you have a chance to make a small symbolic gesture that not only pays tribute to all the great Airmen that have come before you, but also shows a sign of respect to the community that assisted in transforming a cotton field into an airfield.” Col. Blaine Baker, 97th Air Mobility Wing commander, said looking backward at the wing’s heritage is critical to achieving future success. "Remembering the Altus legacy and honoring our heritage is a critical part of why we continue to excel in our training mission at the Mighty 97th," he said. "Reminding ourselves and our Airmen of the valor of men and women who've gone before us motivates us to continue to be the proficient, inspired and adaptive Mobility Warriors needed by America today."