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
  • New Programs hosted in Foyil

    The Foyil Community Organization was launched in January with the purpose of providing residents with community events.

    July 30, 2014

  • Gutierrez awarded Health Foundation scholarship

    Evelyn Gutierrez of Claremore was recently awarded a scholarship from United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars Initiative to pursue a career in primary health care.

    July 30, 2014

  • Medical marijuana petition signing up thousands of new voters

    Medical marijuana may be the state’s newest gateway drug — to voting.
    Oklahomans for Health is spearheading a ballot drive to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The group has collected about 100,000 of the 156,000 signatures of registered voters it needs to get the issue on the ballot, according to its chairman, Chip Paul.

    July 30, 2014

  • City open records dispute continues

    The city of Claremore will pay $41,324.25 in attorney fees to the Vinita law firm who challenged their compliance with the Oklahoma Open Records Act.

     

    July 29, 2014

  • Claremore sisters featured on talk show

    During their recent trip to Los Angeles, Claremore sisters Lindsey and Whitney Martin made the most of their time in the city of angels, spending time with family, visiting several beaches, restaurants and Hollywood attractions.

    July 29, 2014 1 Link

  • Elementary students learn to bid at Zebra Stripes auction

    Claremore elementary students in the Zebra Stripes summer care program participated in a student-friendly auction Friday at Roosa Elementary. The auction was presented by Daneen Shepherd, realtor/broker and auctioneer of Tulsa, who taught the children how to bid on items efficiently and effectively.

    July 29, 2014 1 Link

  • Treasurer issues tax warrants

    For the first time, tax warrants are being issued in Rogers County to collect unpaid personal property taxes.
    This week, some local business owners should expect to be served by the Rogers County Sheriff’s office.
    Personal tax warrants have been issued to three local companies, who owe a total of approximately $38,000 in past due taxes.

    July 29, 2014

  • No evidence or human remains found

    Rogers County Sheriff’s deputies and assisting agencies vacated a Tiawah property Friday, after no evidence or human remains were found in connection to the disappearance of a local resident that went missing in 1996.

    July 27, 2014

  • RCLC launches letter campaign

    The Rogers County Literacy Council, RCLC, is launching their annual letter writing campaign.
     A United Way Organization, the council is asking for community support to help promote literacy in the English language.

    July 27, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Inequality crisis shot with factual problems, hypocrisy

    President Obama, various media and political liberals say inequality, of all things, is the defining issue of our times. Yet this message is delivered by multimillionaires and a president who jets from tee time to stump speech on the taxpayer's dime.
     

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo