Rogers State University is creating a living legacy through the renovation of its historic Oklahoma Military Academy Museum – a tribute to the young men who upheld their virtues and some, who gave their lives defending our great nation.
“The Oklahoma Military Academy Museum is being restored and renovated into a state-of-the-art facility, using a variety of audio and visual elements that will keep OMA, its alumni and staff, and its principles of courage, loyalty and honor alive for whole new generations to experience and understand,” Dr. Danette Boyle, the executive director for the OMA Alumni, said. “It is time for a new beginning for the OMA museum to preserve and share its rich history.”
The OMA, RSU’s predecessor institution, was known as the West Point of the Southwest and operated in Claremore from 1919-1971. More than 10,000 cadets attended the academy, more than 2,500 graduates served in the United States Armed Forces in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam conflict, and more than 100 OMA cadets gave their lives for their country.
OMA Alumni Association member Major General (RET) Michael Kuehr attended OMA from 1966-1968 on a basketball scholarship. His leadership during his time as a cadet, as well as military service, has allowed him to play an active role in the restoration efforts.
“General Mike has been an exemplary member of the OMA Alumni Association and served for many years on the Board of Directors. He assumed a leadership role in launching the efforts to restore and renovate the OMA Museum,” Dr. Boyle said.
For Kuehr, the museum is more than a vault of stories. It represents a worthy legacy for all cadets to be proud of.
“It is important for OMA history to remain alive because it represents, in the best way, what is possible in advancing the cause for the greater good. While OMA was initially established to meet the needs for growing educational requirements and to support military manpower requirements, but it has become so much more,” Kuehr said.
Kuehr served in the Army’s Military Police Branch, Air Defense Artillery, 82nd Airborne Division and the 1st Armored Division. After six years of active duty, he attended law school, but remained in the reserves as part of the 90th Army Reserve Command. He served in various staff positions, including Aide de Camp, operations officer, battalion commander and commandant of the US Army Reserve Forces School.
His awards and decorations include The Army Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medals, Army Meritorious Service Medals, Army Commendation Medals. Army Achievement Medal, the Senior Parachutist Badge and the Pathfinder Badge.
Through the years, OMA graduates have demonstrated good citizenship to their country, leadership to the military in which they served, and leadership in the communities they live today.
“The OMA alumni contributions did not stop upon graduation or retirement. We have endured well past what most would have expected, as evidenced by the strong support of the OMA Alumni Association to Rogers State University, current generations and beyond,” Kuehr said. “There are few organizations with our increasing challenges that have our spirit and resolve as we continue our service to the nation by making significant leadership and monetary contributions.”
The museum collects, preserves, and exhibits items relevant to the school’s history including a recreated typical cadet room and a bust of Lt. Gen. William E. Potts who is the highest-ranking alumnus of OMA. The legacy of the OMA lives on through the OMA Alumni Association and the Guard Officer Leadership Development Program at RSU. Upon completion of the GOLD Program, RSU students earn the rank of Second Lieutenant and become a commissioned officer in the Army National Guard.
To learn more about OMA and the museum renovation, contact Dr. Danette Boyle at 918-343-6888 or [email protected].