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Memorial Honors Fallen Veterans Of Oklahoma Military Academy

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The Killed In Action Memorial at Rogers State University in Claremore. The Killed In Action Memorial at Rogers State University in Claremore.
A list of OMA graduates who died in World War II. A list of OMA graduates who died in World War II.

Rick Wells, News On 6

CLAREMORE, Oklahoma -- The Oklahoma Military Academy closed in 1971, so there are a generation or two who perhaps have never heard of it. OMA was located on the campus that is now Rogers State University in Claremore.

The OMA flag is flying over RSU this week.  The school is getting ready for the dedication of the recently completed Killed in Action Memorial.

"The names on the three sides are people that we knew and loved and went to school with," Randy Vierling said.

Randy Vierling is president of the Alumni Association and the memorial was his idea. It contains the names of graduates who died in World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars.

"More men served in the wars out of OMA than any other institution in the state," Dr. Danette Boyle said.

Dr Danette Boyle, Vice President for Development at RSU, said they've found the names of 100 graduates who were killed in action.

Ten thousand men graduated from OMA during its 52 years. The university houses the OMA museum. Inside there are uniforms, weapons, and historical photographs, of life at OMA, of distinguished graduates and of the men whose names are memorialized on the monument outside.

"We appreciate our military history and we also appreciate the men whose names are etched in this granite," Dr. Larry Rice said, President of RSU.

Dr. Rice said OMA was a place that changed lives. It's his goal for Rogers State is to continue that legacy.

Randy Vierling was here from 1959 to 1963. He said he came in a young trouble-maker and graduated a fine young man.

"This school has made possible my career and success I've had in my life," he said. "I'll never forget the opportunity I was given here."

The memorial dedication begins at 9 a.m. Saturday and it is open to the public.

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