Veterans Day may only occupy one day on the calendar, but in Oklahoma City you can learn about this community’s military history year round.
Did you know there have been two different USS Oklahoma City ships? There is currently a submarine christened the USS Oklahoma City that served in the Persian Gulf. There was also a light cruiser named the USS Oklahoma City with an interesting history that served in World War II and the Vietnam War.
Want to experience a more hands-on history of the military? Visit the 45th Infantry Museum, which is dedicated to telling the story of the “Thunderbirds” of the 45th Infantry Division. This group of was formed during the National Defense Act of 1920 and spent their first years maintaining order in times of disaster and political unrest. Before deploying during World War II, the Thunderbirds trained at five bases, including Fort Sill in Oklahoma. They participated in four amphibious landings and saw 511 days in combat, and were described as “one of the best, if not the best division in the history of American arms” by General George S. Patton.
The Thunderbirds continued to serve after WWII until January 1969, and their legacy lives on today at the museum honoring the accomplishments of the division. Admission is free to this 27,000-square-foot attraction.
If the history of America’s military aviation is more to your liking, then visit the Charles B. Hall Air Park near Tinker Air Force Base on Interstate 40 East. The park is rich in the history of Tinker Air Force Base and in the aircraft that have been part of Tinker’s operations for more than seven decades.