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Vance AFB Col. Little speaks at NOC Veterans Day

Col. Little Vietnam Pinning

Col. Nekitha Little, Commander of the 71st Mission Support Group – 71st Flying Training Wing at Vance Air Force Base, spoke at the Northern Oklahoma College Veteran’s Day program Thursday at the Gantz Center.

Col. Little spoke about “Service,” the theme for 2023.

Little provided a historical account of women in the military culminating in the celebration of the 1948 Women’s Armed Forces Integration Act.  The passage of that law allowed women to serve in the military during peace time.

She cited examples from the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and both World Wars of women in the service.

“Women have always been a part of military service from the Revolutionary War through the present day,” she said.  “President Truman’s signing of the 1948 bill allowed women to make the military a career.”

Little also encouraged everyone in attendance to continue to grow, to continue to find ways to serve, expanding on the theme for 2023 National Theme.

“No matter whether you are a student or a retired person, there are always ways to serve,” she said.  “I always tried to leave a place better than I found it and that happens throughs service.  You can serve in your church, organization, or community.  There are always ways to serve.”

She encouraged those in attendance to find their space.

“Everyone should smile, laugh, have fun, and enjoy the space you’re in,” she said.  “Don’t live in the space of fear but live in the space of enjoyment.”

Five Vietnam veterans were honored at the event, each was presented a pin commemorating their service.  Five female veterans were also honored for their service honoring the 1948 Women’s Armed Service Integration Act.

Little was introduced by former Enid mayor and retired Air Force veteran George Pankonin.

The event was sponsored by the NOC Diversity Committee, chaired by Dr. Mary Ann McCoy.  Remarks were also provided by Dr. Clark Harris, NOC President, and Vice President for NOC Enid Jeremy Hise.

The armed forces medley was played by Cynthis Smith with veterans standing during the playing of each anthem.  The ceremony ended with the playing of “Taps.”

NOC Enid President’s Leadership Council students served the event.

Northern Oklahoma College, the state’s first public two-year community college, is a multi-campus, land-grant institution that provides high quality, accessible, and affordable educational opportunities and services.

NOC serves nearly 4,000 students through the home campus in Tonkawa, branch in Enid, and NOC/OSU Gateway Program in Stillwater.  Of these students about 80% receive financial aid and/or scholarships. 75% of NOC students complete their degree with zero debt.

The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers associate degrees in three general areas: Arts, Science and Applied Science; the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs; and the Accreditation Commission for Education and Nursing.

For more information about Northern Oklahoma College please call (580) 628-6208 or visit the NOC website at