Today, the barracks is called Meyer Hall and houses the OMA Museum on its second floor.
It was considered the “West Point of the Southwest,” and the U.S. Department of Defense rated it one of only three ROTC Honor Schools below the four-year level.
The state-assisted Oklahoma Military Academy no longer exists, but from 1919-1971, the institution trained more than 10,000 cadets through its six-year high school and junior college program in Claremore.
The idea of a military academy was heavily favored at the time of the OMA’s establishment as World War I brought the desire of preparedness for combat. Somewhat ironically, the academy closed due to the distress caused by the length of the Vietnam War and the low enrollment that followed.
More than 2,500 of the OMA’s cadets fought during times of war — World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War — and 101 lost their lives during the conflicts.
“OMA had this saying, ‘Send us a boy and we’ll send you back a man,’ and it was true,” says Phil Goldfarb, vice president of the OMA Alumni Association’s board of trustees. He is one of approximately 7,800 ROTC cadets who attended OMA.
“It is estimated that 80 percent or 6,250 (OMA) alumni served our country in times of war and peace,” Goldfarb says, “which is the highest percentage of any school in Oklahoma.”
Today the OMA Alumni Association honors these individuals through the OMA Museum, located in the former OMA barracks, now Meyer Hall at Rogers State University in Claremore.
One display features former alumnus Dr. William J. Daugherty, who was captured along with more than 50 other Americans stationed at the U.S. Embassy in Iran during his first tour with the CIA. The Iranian government held them prisoner for 444 days, from Nov. 1979-Jan. 1981.
Another artifact, a rare copy of the WWII document of Japanese surrender, features former cadet Dallas Meade, who penned the document according to the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces Douglas MacArthur’s instruction.
In an attempt to reunite OMA alumni and to secure more artifacts for the OMA Museum, the OMA Alumni Association is in search of former cadets.
Just this year the association located 1,000 alumni, half of whom were deceased. Yet 1,500 former OMA cadets are still unaccounted for by the association.
Former cadets can contact Dr. Danette Boyle, executive director of the OMA Alumni Association, at 918-343-6888 or firstname.lastname@example.org.