- Associated Press - Monday, October 12, 2015

ENID, Okla. (AP) - This article isn’t the first time an image of Shannon Caleb has appeared in the Enid News & Eagle (https://bit.ly/1jRyHWT ).

The first was of him holding a fish he had caught. He was just a boy. The year was about 1976.

“I remember my mother dragging me down to the newspaper to have my picture taken,” said Caleb.

Caleb is one of many people who grow up in Enid and return as adults, but one of the few who have done so after serving their country in far-flung parts of the globe.

Maj. Shannon Caleb has been back in Enid about three months, serving as commander of the newly formed 71st Installation Support Squadron at Vance Air Force Base. The newly designated unit combines the functions of the logistics readiness and civil engineering squadrons, as well as the communications flight.

This after living in such exotic locales as Okinawa, Guam, Germany, Jordan and Bahrain.

But for the time being, at least, Caleb is home. Vance is his 10th assignment and his first command.

“I was pretty excited,” said Caleb. “I actually lobbied to get this job.”

The reason wasn’t only the location, but the job. Caleb said his experience working in logistics and civil engineering with both military and civilian personnel helped prepare him for the assignment.

“I lobbied through my functional manager that I believed I would be a good fit,” he said.

Both of Caleb’s parents, Less Caleb and Patty Melott, still live in Enid.

“Dad still lives in the house I grew up in,” he said. “I went to three schools - Coolidge, Longfellow and Enid High.” He is a 1987 EHS graduate.

When he was a child, Caleb said he was aware of the planes flying over Enid nearly every day, but not of Vance.

“Growing up as a kid, I just assumed that every town in America was like Enid, all towns have airplanes flying over them, it was no different,” he said.

His first contact with Vance was when he was 7 or 8 and the Thunderbirds came to the base for an air show in their F-4 Phantoms.

“That was the first time I ever even had a notion there was an Air Force base here, besides the fact that planes were flying over,” Caleb said.

When he was 16, Caleb began working for Steve Harris as a steak cook at Western Sizzlin’ restaurant. After four years at that job, he decided he wanted something more.

“As great as that job was, and enjoying it, I needed to find something else to do, and the Air Force was a great opportunity for me,” he said.

The Air Force not only has taken him around the world, but it helped him get his college degree and his commission through Officer Training School.

Caleb has made many visits home over the years, some while serving two-and-a-half years at Tinker AFB, but living back here, he says, is different. Visits are limited and there never seemed to be enough time to see family members and friends.

“Now that I’m actually living here, there’s actually friends that I haven’t seen yet because I still have time,” he said. “I’m busy doing other things.”

Caleb said he has enjoyed seeing places he recalled from his childhood, like the former Phillips University campus (now Northern Oklahoma College Enid) and Denny Price Family YMCA, but also some that weren’t around when he was growing up, like David Allen Memorial Ballpark and Enid Event Center.

“What’s different now is really how the downtown area has come back to life,” he said. “It’s just really refreshing to see Enid’s downtown area come alive again.”


Information from: Enid News & Eagle, https://www.enidnews.com

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