2016 Hall of Fame Honoree

Gene LittleMr. Reciel Eugene Little, ‘56

Gene Little arrived at the OMA Campus in fall 1951 and he went on to complete three years in High School and two years at OMA Junior College before graduating in 1956. During his time on ‘The Hill,’ he received numerous honors including Best Drilled Platoon, Best Drilled Company and Best Drilled Cadet, Distinguished Military Student, Outstanding Cadet Identification Disk and was OMA Marching Band Commander. He also was selected as Battalion Commander for War Board.

He went on to attend Oklahoma A&M College and the University of Tulsa, before enlisting in the U.S. Navy after he was offered a spot in its “A” School, where he earned a Special Electronics Technician rating. He said his five years at OMA made the Navy boot camp experience “a breeze” and he earned the American Spirit Honor Award at Final Parade.

His first duty station was at the Naval Air Station Alameda in California, where he was assigned to a P2V “sub hunter” squadron. The following year, he was assigned to a new AWACS squadron in Hawaii. These “Super Connies” would routinely fly from Midway Island to Alaska, which was a 15-hour flight. During these flights, they would serve as “the Pacific Barrier” for any aircraft coming from Russia. Two years later, he was assigned to the radar shop on Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in Washington state.

After his Navy service, he worked for Teledyne Semiconductor designing and building integrated circuits for 17 years, then joined Philips Semiconductor as a fabrication planning manager for the U.S. plant in Orem, Utah. He also served at fabrication facilities in Caen, France and the Netherlands. After 21 years with the company, he retired in 2001.

In 2003, he moved back to Oklahoma, and shortly afterwards was asked if he would like to take over as Curator of the OMA Museum at Rogers State University. His work with the museum has been transformative, as he has helped renovate the Museum from top to bottom to best display OMA memorabilia, including items donated by alumni. Little also has been instrumental in efforts to provide frames for photos of all OMA students who were killed during WWII, Korea and Vietnam, as well as the displays for Distinguished Alumni and Hall of Fame honorees.