The Oklahoma Military Academy Alumni Association has announced the recipients of its Hall of Fame and Distinguished Alumni Awards for 2002.
The recipients will be honored at the annual Oklahoma Military Academy Reunion June 7-8 at Rogers State University in Claremore.
The Hall of Fame and Distinguished Alumni Awards represent the highest honors that can be bestowed upon an alumnus of the Oklahoma Military Academy. Currently, there are more than 1,500 active alumni of the academy.
This year, more than 200 Oklahoma Military Academy alumni, spouses and guests will return to RSU’s “College Hill” to attend a variety of reunion activities including the Distinguished Alumni and Hall of Fame Ceremony on June 8, at 10:30 a.m.
Alex Adwan and Col. Arthur Frank Cochran will be inducted into the Oklahoma Military Academy Hall of Fame.
This year’s Distinguished Alumni are Col. Glen Burke, Larry Burton, Robert Wright and Daniel York, who will be honored post humously.
“We are honored to present the Hall of Fame and Distinguished Alumni awards to these men who have brought honor to the Oklahoma Military Academy through their many years of dedicated service to their communities and country,” said Danette Boyle, Vice President for Development at RSU.
Alex Adwan – Hall of Fame
It was at the Oklahoma Military Academy that Alex Adwan got his start in journalism. He was the editor of OMA’s Guidon newspaper and the Vedette yearbook in the mid-40s. He got his “big story” at OMA when Bob Hope was on the “hill” to entertain the cadets and broadcast his weekly radio show from the Will Rogers Auditorium.
Alex attended both high school and junior college at OMA. He graduated from junior college in 1948 and continued his journalism studies at the University of Oklahoma.
After graduating from OU in 1950, he served as a tank platoon leader in the 45th Division in Korea. He was awarded the Bronze Star with “V.”
After his military service, Alex returned home to work at small daily newspapers – theSeminole Producer, Wewoka Times, and Pauls Valley Daily Democrat. He became co-publisher and managing editor of the Seminole Producer. From 1960 to 1967, Alex was with United Press International, serving as a bureau manager in Tulsa, Houston and Oklahoma City. He covered Houston’s new space center in the early 1960s, reporting on the last of the one-man orbital space missions and the beginnings of Project Apollo, the program to send astronauts to the moon.
He joined the Tulsa World as Washington correspondent in 1967. He became associate editor in 1972 and editor of editorial pages in 1981.
Beginning in the early 1980s, Alex presided over a number of changes in the editorial operations, including creation of the World’s weekly eight-page Opinion Section. The changes gave readers a greater variety of viewpoints on important issues and a more accessible forum for their own opinions.
On his retirement as editorial page editor in 1994, Alex was named senior editor. He writes a weekly column, frequently on historical subjects as they relate to current news. The columns often deal with constitutional issues.
Named to the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame in 1991, Alex received the Oklahoma Press Association’s Beach Musselman Award for “outstanding contribution to newspaper journalism” in 1995. He has been honored as a distinguished graduate of the University of Oklahoma School of Journalism and the Oklahoma Military Academy. In 1996, he was named a Jefferson Fellow of Rogers State University, the institution’s highest honor, for his support of higher education. He received the Oklahoma Education Association’s Marshall Gregory Award for Educational Media Excellence, and was also the 2001 recipient ofthe RSU Constitution Award, for his exemplary commitment to perpetuating the principles of the United States Constitution. He was recently elected to the board of the Oklahoma Historical Society.
Alex was born in Maud, Okla., and grew up in Seminole, Okla. He and his wife Teresa, a retired Tulsa attorney, live in Tulsa. They enjoy traveling and serve on several civic boards and committees.
Col. Glen D. Burke – Distinguished Alumni
Since his graduation from the Oklahoma Military Academy Junior College in 1953, Glen D. Burke has made his mark on the world through a progression of service to his nation, state and community.
After leaving OMA, Burke attended Oklahoma State University, where he graduated in 1956 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He then was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Armor Branch of the United States Army and assigned to the Armor Basic Course at Fort Knox.
Subsequent military assignments include: Unit Tank Commander, Infantry Platoon Leader, BCT Company Commander, various positions on Battalion and Brigade staffs, and Battalion Commander. During these years he completed the Advanced Officer Course, Intelligence School and the Command and General Staff school.
After his active duty tenure, Burke remained in the Army Reserve until 1992, when he retired with the rank of Colonel.
Burke’s professional broadcasting career began in 1956 in Cushing, Okla., as an account executive. Moving to Durant, Okla., in 1958, he assumed the duties of assistant station manager of radio station KSEO. In 1968, Glen was named station manager, a position held until 1983 when he was promoted to president and general manager of the Durant Broadcasting Corporation.
In 1988, the Durant Chamber of Commerce hired Glen as their executive vice president, where he was instrumental in the developing the city’s quality of life including improvements in the city’s infrastructure through sales tax elections, assisting in the passage of a major bond issue for Bryan County Memorial Hospital, General Obligation Bond issues, School Board issues and many others.
Upon leaving the Chamber of Commerce position in 1989, Glen served as public relations and marketing representative for Beneficial Personnel Services in Durant. He remained there until an opportunity came to open Comet Cleaners and Laundry, where he served as president and general manager from 1992 to 1993 when he was able to retire.
Throughout the years, Glen has devoted much of his personal time to civic activities. He has served on the Durant Industrial Foundation’s Board of Directors, as secretary of the Durant Industrial Authority, Ambassador and Board member for the Durant Chamber of Commerce, president of the Durant Lions Club, and Board member to the Bryan County United Way.
During his tenure in the broadcast media he was president of the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters in 1975, served as FCC liaison for the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, and served on the Board of Directors and other important committees of the OAB.
Glen enjoys photography and acting. He also serves as a Lay Leader for the First United Methodist Church in Durant. He and his wife, Sue, have also become active in a Prison Ministry, working with inmates in church services and Bible studies, at a nearby prison facility.
Larry Burton – Distinguished Alumni
Larry Burton attended the Oklahoma Military Academy for six years. After skipping school in Shreveport, La, his mother flew home from South America (where his father worked in pipeline construction), and promptly placed him at OMA. He graduated high school in 1961 and junior college in 1963.
While at OMA, Larry achieved the rank of Cadet Major. He was actively involved in the Chevron Society, Saber Society, Drill Team, Honor Society, Outstanding Cadet ID Disk, Distinguished Military Graduate and attended ROTC Advanced Summer Camp at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Upon graduation from Junior Collegein 1963, Larry transferred to Northeastern State Teachers College at Tahlequah, Okla., where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history of social studies and a minor in Spanish. He did his practice teaching at the Oklahoma Military Academy.
Larry was commissioned as a Second Lieutenantin the Armor Branch of the U.S. Army in 1965. He completed Armor Officer Basic Course at Fort Knox, Ky., in 1965 and was assigned to training brigade at Fort Bliss, Texas. After about nine months he volunteered for Vietnam and was stationed there in 1966 and 1967. While there he was an infantry advisor. Larry says that this tour of duty was his honor and privilege, yet one of the hardest things he has ever had to do was to bring back the body of one of his OMA classmates – Sam R. Trizza, OMA Class of 1963.
Larry returned to Fort Knox and was assigned as Tank Company Commander 6-32 Armor for one year. He was promoted to the rank of Captain in 1968 and assigned to Armor Officer Career Course and completed it in 1969. In 1970, Burton was sent for a second tour of duty in Vietnam, for which he did not volunteer. He spent approximately six months on General Staff with 55th Military Intelligence Detachment, and six months with 2ndSquadron 1st Calvary at Song Mao. He was assigned as Adjutant to the Cavalry.
Burton received many decorations during his military career including Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Vietnam Service Ribbon, Vietnamese Armed Forces Medal, and National Defense Medal.
Upon completing the tour he was assigned to ROTC duty for two years as assistant professorof military science at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark.
Larry left the Army in April 1974. He moved to McDavid, Fla, and went to work as a police officer in Alabama.
In June 1976 Larry completed a master’s degree incriminal justice and police administration at Troy State University. He then was employed by the Alabama Department of Corrections as assistant director of the community base corrections facility. Highlighting his career in corrections was his involvement in starting the Therapeutic Community at St. Clair Prison. This was is an innovative treatment program at a 1,300 person maximum security facility with more than 700 life without parole inmates. Larry and the innovative program received agreat deal of positive recognition, includinga visit from Secretary of Health and Human Services William Bennett.
Larry retired from Alabama State Department of Corrections in 1995. He and his wife currently raise toy poodles and Yorkshire terriers. Larry also is employed part-time at a Country Hardware Store.
Col. Arthur Frank Cochran – Hall of Fame
Col. Arthur Frank Cochran was born in Independence, Kansas in 1928. He graduated from high school at Oklahoma Military Academy in September 1945, and after a semester as a junior college freshman left the academy in January 1946. In August 1946 he enlisted in the Army and was sent overseas to Korea where he served as Tank Commander in the 7th Division. He earned the rank of sergeant before his discharge in 1948.
Upon his return home he enrolled at Oklahoma State University. While there he served as president of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, vice president of his junior class, was designated a distinguished military student, and received his commission as second lieutenant.
Hegraduated from OSU in January 1951 and in that same month re-entered the Army. During his commissioned service he commanded four platoons, one of which was a tank platoon in the Korean War, and six companies, one of which was a tank company, also during the Korean War. He commanded the 3rd Squadron of the 11th Armored Cavalry in the Vietnam War and the 3rd Brigade 8th Infantry Division in Germany during the Cold War. He had several major staff assignments of which Chief of the Allied Staff Berlin and Executive to the Director of the Joint Staff in the Pentagonare among the most important.
During his service, Cochran completed all Army career schools and graduated from the Commandand General Staff College and the National War College. He also received a master’s degree in international affairs from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Cochran received several major awards during his Army career. These awards include: SilverStar for Gallantry in Action, Bronze Star for Valor with Two Oak Leaf Clusters, Combat Infantry Badge, Legion of Merit with Two OakLeaf Clusters, and the Republic of Vietnam Medal of Gallantry Cross with Gold Star.
He retired from the Army in February 1978 and moved to Florida where he obtained a position with the General Electric Company, Simulation and Training Systems Division in Daytona Beach. During the 12 years he worked for GE he was a Deputy Program Manager and later a Training Systems Specialist. He was instrumental in the development and fielding of gunnery simulators for the main battle tank and the infantry/cavalry fighting vehicle, and the tank driver simulator.
Following his retirement from GE he served as Red Cross volunteer for emergency and disaster management and as an advisor and mentor of instructors in the operation of simulators.
He and Delayne, his wife of 51 years, currently reside in Ormond Beach, Fla.
Robert A. Wright – Distinguished Alumni
Robert A. Wright attended three years of highschool at the Oklahoma Military Academy and graduated in 1953. While at OMA, he achieved the rank of Master Sergeant and was named outstanding high school athlete in 1953.
After attending OMA, Bob went to Oklahoma State University where he earned a degree in architecture. Since 1966 he has been the principal and president of LWPB Architects & Planners, an architectural firm in Oklahoma City. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects, and has served the Oklahoma Chapter as president and the Oklahoma City Section as president for two terms. He also served as a board member to the chapter and section. Through his commitment to this organization, Bob has been recognized as Outstanding Member of the Year.
Bob is very involved in civic organizations, including the Oklahoma City Downtown Lions Club where he has been a member since 1972 and is a past president and board member. He is also a member of Oklahoma City Beautiful, the Oklahoma City and Edmond Chambers of Commerce, and United Way.
In addition to his participation in the OMA Alumni Association, Bob is a life member of the Oklahoma State University Alumni Association. He is a great supporter of Rogers State University and has recently established the Verna Jeffrey Wright Scholarship Endowmentat RSU. He is a guest lecturer for the Schools of Education at OSU, the University of Oklahoma, and Southern Nazarene University. He has been a member of the National Design Jury for Educational Facilities, and a member and past chairman of the board for the Greens Country Club.
Bob’s firm LWPB Architects & Planners, will celebrate its 40th year in business this October and has completed more than 900 projects in Oklahoma and surrounding states. The firm specializes in educational and financial institution facility planning. The firm has won 10 state and national design awards for excellence in architecture. Currently, the firm is serving as the principal designer for the Rogers State University Pryor Campus Master Plan and Campus Expansion and projects for the Claremore Public Schools.
Bob and his wife Carolyn live in Oklahoma City. They have six adult children and thirteen grandchildren.
Daniel W. York III – Distinguished Alumni(Posthumous)
Daniel York, of Tulsa, Okla., attended high school and junior college at the Oklahoma Military Academy. York graduated from the OMA Junior College in 1965. While at OMA he earned the rank of Second Lieutenant, was on the Best Drilled Platoon, Drill Team, Honor Court, earned a Merit Ribbon, Cadet ID Disk, and was active in Saber Society. He also was a wrestler, and was the squad leader of the Best Drilled Squad. He earned the Junior College Drill Team Letter, Outstanding Company, Military Proficiency Ribbon, and Bronze Torch.
After graduation Danny joined the United States Army and went to Vietnam as a helicopter pilot. He completed his first tour in Vietnam in 1967 and returned to OMA for a visit to old classmates. While visiting OMA he told the story of his helicopter being shotdown by ground fire, causing him to crash land into his unit’s supply tent. He showed pictures of supplies scattered all around, and his helicopter sitting on the top of this tent.
It was in 1968, early on in his second tour in Vietnam, that his helicopter was shot by a surface-to-air missile and Danny was tragically killed. It is believed that there were no remains to be brought back for burial.