Claremore Daily Progress

Top Stories

June 1, 2011

Sara Masters reflects on life as cadet, prepares for OMA reunion

CLAREMORE — Sara Willey, now Sara Masters, was one of the first women ever to attend the school on the Hill.

Now Rogers State University, the school was still a military academy when it first went co-ed. Sara Willey transferred to Oklahoma Military Academy in January 1969.

“That was right after they had allowed women to attend,” she said.

Sara was engaged to cadet C.J. Masters. Transferring to OMA made life easier for the young couple.

“He was finishing up his second year of junior college and I had been going to school at Miami NEO,” she said. “When they (OMA) went co-ed, I transferred back here. We were married in May.”

The Masters celebrated 42 years of marriage Memorial Day. They were also married on a Memorial Day.

C.J. was a “townie” who started attending OMA during high school. Sara was a Claremore High School graduate.

“I worked in the library when Jean Tanner was the librarian,” said Sara.

Jean was the wife of Elmo Tanner, a former Claremore mayor.

Sara also worked in the administrative office at OMA while attending classes. C.J. was an ROTC student which helped pay for his schooling.

“I didn’t finish the junior college,” said Sara. “After he graduated, we transferred to Tahlequah, which then was NSC.”

Although one of only a “handful” of women, Sara said she never felt discriminated against while attending the predominantly male university.

“I was never made to feel like I shouldn’t be there,” she said. “All of the cadets were very respectful and polite.”

C.J. was in a leadership role by that time as an upper classman and an officer. If a cadet thought about giving Sara a hard time, his respect and fear of C.J. probably would have prevented it. Regardless, Sara said she experienced “no negative instances.”

“I enjoyed those few semesters that I was there,” she said. “The women that were there, I knew them. At the time, for me, it was just so much easier to go to college (at OMA).”

Opening OMA to women created opportunities for local women to further their education without having to live away from home, she said.

“It was really the first opportunity for that community college experience, not just women but men. They didn’t have to be in the military,” said Sara.

C.J. is retired now with 37 years  in the military, mostly as a reserve officer.

“I could have taken my commissioner because I had all of my ROTC behind me out of the junior college,” said C.J. “I applied for an education delay of my commission. Sara and I got married instead.”

Out of 120 officers in his group, only 11 stayed on active duty. After Vietnam, not as many officers were needed. He spent three months at Ft. Knox and returned home, part of the Tulsa reserve unit. He remained active in training and did training for Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

He was deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2004.

“I am the last OMA cadet that deployed to a war zone,” he said.

One other OMA cadet was still on active duty a year after C.J. retired. Sara is a teacher who retired last year. The couple has lived elsewhere in Oklahoma, but was happy when they got the chance to return to Claremore some years ago.

They are looking forward to the OMA reunion coming up the first weekend in June. The couple has always been out of town in the past, and this is their first chance to attend.

C.J. remembers the bond with his fellow cadets at OMA fondly.

“It was the camaraderie, the spirit of the corps, working together,” he said.

“Most of the guys didn’t have cars,” said Sara. “They lived up there. It was very, very tight... It was their family.”

1
Text Only
Top Stories
  • Local churches impact poverty

    Claremore First Christian Church, First United Methodist and the Pastoral Alliance are combining efforts to host a 16-week program, “Getting Ahead in a Just Getting by World,” based off of the national program — “bridges out of poverty.”

    July 25, 2014

  • Grand Jury recesses until August

    The multicounty grand jury charged with investigating accusations of misconduct by Rogers County officials recessed Thursday until August 19-21, saying it needed to hear from more witnesses before returning a finding in the matter.

    July 25, 2014

  • Former Sheriff’s deputy arrested

    The Rogers County Sheriff’s Office arrested ex-deputy Brian Kindle Wednesday after receiving multiple reports concerning his safety.

    July 25, 2014

  • Chelsea man receives 54-year sentence for child abuse

    A Chelsea man was sentenced to 54 years in prison Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to the charges of child abuse by injury and child sexual abuse.

    July 25, 2014

  • Rogers County Clerk sues The Daily Progress

    Rogers County Clerk Robin Anderson has filed a lawsuit against The Daily Progress and the newspaper’s government reporter Salesha Wilken.

    July 24, 2014

  • Band.jpg Local band loses everything on tour

    A Claremore band, The Last Slice, had $30,000 worth of equipment, instruments, merchandise and clothes stolen while on the East Coast Ska Revival tour in Miami, Fla.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • RSU among Top 15 Southwest schools for game development

    Animation Career Review ranked Rogers State University as the 12th best school in the Southwest for Game Design and Development. 

    July 24, 2014

  • SEARCH DAY 3

    A search connected to a Rogers County cold case continued Wednesday at a Tiawah Hills property. Law enforcement agencies worked through the heat and elements in an attempt to locate associated evidence that could be used to explain the disappearance of a local woman 18 years ago.

    July 24, 2014

  • 34 OSBI agents graduate from investigative academy

    OSBI has graduated its 14th advanced investigative academy.

    July 23, 2014

  • Study: 1 in 4 Oklahoma kids live in poverty

     Nearly 1 in 4 Oklahoma children live in poverty and the number of children living in high-poverty areas has more than doubled since 2000, according to a national study released Tuesday.

    July 23, 2014

Poll

Do you prefer the warm summer weather of 2013 or the mild rainy weather we are currently experiencing?

Hot/Dry Summer
Mild/Wet Summer
I prefer any season but Summer.
I don't have an opinion.
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive In Case of Fire, Oxygen Masks for Pets Mobile App Gives Tour of Battle of Atlanta Sites