Nearly 300 attendees and 150 alumni participated last Friday and Saturday during the annual Oklahoma Military Academy Alumni Association at Rogers State University. OMA, hailed as the “West Point of the Southwest,” operated on College Hill in Claremore from 1919-1971 before it transitioned into RSU.
A full one-third of the attending 150 alumni were from states outside of Oklahoma, said RSU Director of Public Relations David Hamby.
The two-day reunion included social activities and an awards ceremony, inducting two men into the OMA Hall of Fame and three men into the Ranks of Distinguished Alumni. RSU President Dr. Larry Rice was also recognized for his years of service preserving the OMA legacy, said OMA Alumni Association Executive Director Danette Boyle.
The theme of the reunion was “All Gave Some, Some Gave All.”
Claremore High School NJROTC presented the colors and performed Taps for attendees.
“We are proud to honor all those former cadets who served their country whether during war or peace,” said Bill Ramsay, OMA Alumni Association president. “During these times, it is important to remember that freedom is not free. Many have sacrificed to keep our country great and strong, including those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and whose names are etched on the OMA Killed in Action Memorial at RSU.”
Twenty-six first-time attendees participated in reunion activities, including David Stenhouse, Class of 1967, who provided the keynote address during the morning formation on Saturday. Stenhouse currently serves as Director of the Oklahoma Information Fusion Center.
Hall of Fame inductees included 1953 graduate Lt. Col. George Hudman, retired US Army and 1933 graduate Brigadier General Preston Wood, retired Marine Corp.
Hudman was a 1991 OMA Distinguished Alumnus. By the time he graduated from OMA, he was recognized as a Junior College All-American fullback. Hudman is a member of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame and is the only player in OMA’s history to have been named an All-American. He entered the US Army in 1955, serving more than two decades.
During his career, Hudman received the Legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Bronze Star, Air Medal with Two Oak Leaf Clusters, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Joint Services Commendation Medal and the Army Commendation Medal.
He also opened a successful private investigation company and later served as president and CEO of a full-service brokerage firm in Arizona.
Brigadier General Preston Wood used what he learned at OMA during his Marine Corps career spanning more than two decades.
He retired in 1957 after rising to the rank of brigadier general and earning a collection of medals, including three bronze stars and a silver star.
Following retirement, Wood worked for several companies engaged in the development, manufacture and sale of a patented line of punch card trays, files and data processing equipment.
He designed improvements for the machines and held a patent for the tabulating card file tray.
Wood died in May 1974 and was buried with full military honors at Fort Gibson National Cemetary.
Distinguished Alumni Honorees included 1969 graduate Ken Colley, 1960 graduate Carlos Galvez, and 1964 graduate Curtis E. McMenamy. RSU President Larry Rice received the Lt. Gen. William E. Potts Award of Excellence for his leadership in the university and his advocacy and assitance in advancing the OMA Alumni Association.
Oklahoma Military Hall of Famer and graduate of OMA Lt. Col. Edwin Price Ramsey, received an honorary mention during Saturday morning’s ceremony.
Ramsey led the last horse calvary charge in the US Army during WWII. He led the charge on Jan. 16, 1942 at Bataan, where American and Philippine soldiers were fighting the invading Japanese army.
When Bataan and the rest of the Philippines fell, Ramsey escaped and formed a guerrilla force in Luzon. Ramsey was awarded the Silver Star for leading the charge.
He also earned the Distinguished Service Cross, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and three Presidential Unit Citations.
Following the war, Ramsey attended the University of Oklahoma School of law and wrote a book entitled “Lieutenant Ramsey’s War.”
He lived in Los Angeles until his death in early March. Ramsey is buried at Arlington National Cemetary.
The OMA Alumni Association is trying to locate more than 1,300 “lost” alumni who are not yet part of the organization’s updated database, said Boyle.
Anyone who knows a “lost” OMA Alumnus or wants more information on the OMA Alumni, call Boyle at (918) 343-6888.