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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

OKC ranked as the best city for retired vets

45th Infantry Museum

This story originally ran on VeloCity.com.

Did you know that about 250,000 military members transition out of service every year? There can be a lot of perks to retirement, but retired veterans in Oklahoma City have something to be especially happy about: Not only was Oklahoma City recently ranked among the top 5 cities for veteran homebuyers, but now a study conducted by Navy Federal Credit Union found that Oklahoma City is the best city for retired vets.

“The ranking was made by considering 11 metrics of veteran success and wellness, including veteran’s income, unemployment rates, proximity to VA hospitals and military bases, and then coupling it with a suite of quality of life measures, which include factors like affordability, the local economy, access to health resources, colleges and the arts, and more…Oklahoma City earns its top ranking with some of the strongest scores for both veteran-specific metrics and for overall quality of life measures…OKC scored particularly well in the categories of high incomes and income growth for veterans, low unemployment among veterans and the number of veteran-owned businesses.”

cost of living, military, Tinker
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Military roots

KC-46A refueling

If you’re new to the 4-0-5 (and even if you’re not,) you may not realize how significant a part of our history and culture the military has in OKC. Sure, you see those big ole airplanes with the flying saucer-looking thingees on top of them and you hear a local car dealer claiming to be located across from “where the big birds fly”, but what in the name of Wiley Post are they talking about??

What better time to clear the air (see what I did there?) about OKC and the history we share with the military than right before Veterans Day – Monday, Nov. 11.

That reference to “where the big birds fly” is Tinker Air Force Base, home of the U.S. Air Force Sustainment Center, the world’s largest military maintenance, repair and overhaul facility. The genesis of the installation came in late 1940 as World War II enveloped Europe and after key Oklahoma City entrepreneurs formed the Oklahoma Industries Foundation. The civic leaders, led by Edward K. Gaylord, Wilbur E. Hightower, Tom Braniff, Frank Buttram, and Stanley Draper, learned that the War Department was looking for an appropriate site to build an aircraft maintenance depot in the American Midwest. They acquired 960 acres and offered the land to the government at no cost. While holding the option on another 480 acres, they promised to provide necessary utilities, roads, and a rail spur to the airfield.

Named in honor of Oklahoma native, Maj. Gen. Clarence L. Tinker, the first Native American major general, the base – originally called the Midwest Air Depot – was formally activated in 1941 as the site that produced approximately half of all C-47 transport aircraft used in WWII.

The base today performs maintenance on such U.S. Air Force aircraft as the KC-135, B-1B, B-52 and E-3 (also known as the AWACS, the airplane with the “flying saucer” on its top), and the Navy’s E-6.

aviation, history, holiday, military, Tinker
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Celebrating history

45th Infantry Division Museum

The 45th Infantry Museum 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. Exhibits include Reaves Military Weapons Collection, which features firearms and related artifacts dating as far back as the Revolutionary War. Thunderbird Park also features tanks, artillery and aircraft onsite. 

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.

You can also head out to the 99s Museum of Women Pilots to learn more about the history of women in aviation, including an exhibit on female military pilots. Read more about the 99s Museum here.

Tinker, aviation, free, history, military, museums, parks
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Veterans Day 2018

Veterans Day Parade

OKC does things really well when it comes to honoring our military heroes with concerts, celebrations and parades. Check out one (or more) of these Veterans Day weekend events and remember to thank a veteran for their service!

Nov. 8 – Let Freedom Ring! A musical salute to our Veterans. 7:30 p.m. Oklahoma City University - Petree Recital Hall - Kirkpatrick Fine Arts Center - 2501 N Blackwelder Ave

Nov. 9 – Dedication Ceremony for World War II-era C-47  The City of Midwest City and the Oklahoma History Center will hold a ceremony to dedicate C-47 transport aircraft #42-92838 on Friday, Nov. 9, at 9 a.m. Joe B. Barnes Regional Park – 8700 E. Reno

Veterans Day ceremony, Oklahoma History Center The Oklahoma History Center will host a 2018 Veterans Day ceremony on Friday, Nov. 9, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event is open to the public. Presentations at the ceremony will be made by retired Major General Rita Aragon and Lieutenant Colonel Bill Schwertfeger, who was a prisoner of war (POW) during the Vietnam War.

Nov. 12 – Veterans Day Parade  The parade will begin at 10 a.m. and the route begins at Century Blvd and S.E. 15th St, travels east to Douglas Blvd and goes north to Reno Ave in Midwest City.

holiday, live music, military, parade
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Celebrating those who served

45th Invantry Division Museum

As we’ve talked about before, Oklahoma City’s ties to the military run deep. This weekend is Veterans Day, and events across Oklahoma City will give you plenty of opportunities to celebrate America’s armed forces and honor those who have served.

  • The annual Veterans Day service at the 45th Infantry Division Museum will take place at 10 a.m. on Nov. 11. Pay tribute to the men and women of the military at this patriotic ceremony, which includes a helicopter flyover, massing of the colors and guest speakers. More information.
  • Midwest City will hold their annual Veterans Day Parade on Friday, Nov. 10 at 10 a.m. The parade begins at Century Boulevard and Southeast 15th Street. More information.
  • On Nov. 11, the Oklahoma City Zoo will offer free entry to all active duty, active reserve and retirees of the military. More information.

If you know of any events we didn’t mention, please include them in the comments or give us a shout on Facebook or Twitter.

museums, zoo, holiday, military
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Oklahoma City and the military

USS Oklahoma

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.

military, museums, parks, history, holiday
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Military history

45th Invantry Division Museum

For all of us, the Fourth of July is the time to celebrate our nation’s independence. For some, it’s also the time to reflect upon the history that got us to where we are today.

If you’re interested in recounting that history firsthand, consider visiting the 45th Infantry Museum, dedicated to telling the story of the “Thunderbirds” of the 45th Infantry Division. Or, stop by the Oklahoma History Center to learn more about Oklahoma’s past and how it’s impacting where we are today.

If you’re more interested in military aviation history, then check out Charles B. Hall Airpark near Tinker Air Force Base for an up close look at the aircraft that have been part of Tinker’s operations for over seven decades.

Read more on OKC's military history.

museums, holiday, military
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Military ties in OKC

Tinker AWACS

It’s no secret that Oklahoma City has strong connections to the U.S. military. Tinker Air Force Base has been part of the Oklahoma City community since 1941 and frequent readers of our blog know how the base plays an important role to the region. Not only is it the largest single-site employer in the state, it is also one of the largest Air Force bases in the nation. Currently, Tinker’s estimated economic impact to the region is $3.41 billion annually.

Not only have brave Oklahomans served in all branches of the military spanning several decades, but the state of Oklahoma is home to several military bases, including Altus Air Force Base, Vance Air Force Base, Fort Sill Army Base, McAlester Army Ammunition Army Base, and Oklahoma City’s own Tinker Air Force Base.

To all who have served and to the families who support them – thank you for your sacrifice.

employment, military, Tinker
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Brush up on OKCís military history

45th Infantry Division Museum

Because of OKC’s ongoing ties to the U.S. military, you can learn about this community’s history with the U.S. Armed Services year round.

The 45th Infantry Museum 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. Exhibits include Reaves Military Weapons Collection, which features firearms and related artifacts dating as far back as the Revolutionary War. Thunderbird Park also features tanks, artillery and aircraft onsite. 

You can also head out to the 99s Museum of Women Pilots to learn more about the history of women in aviation, including an exhibit on female military pilots. Read more about the 99s Museum here.

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.

history, military, museums, Tinker, aviation
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Saluting those who served

45th Infantry Division Museum Veteran\'s Day Ceremony

Events across Oklahoma City will give you plenty of opportunities to celebrate America’s armed forces and honor those who have served.

  • The Norman Veterans Committee will host their 2016 Veteran’s Day and Memorial Ceremony at Reaves Park in Norman on Nov. 11. Static displays open at 10 a.m., the ceremony begins at 11 a.m. More information.
  • The annual Veterans Day service at the 45th Infantry Division Museum will take place at 10 a.m., on Nov. 11. Pay tribute to the men and women of the military at this patriotic ceremony, which includes a helicopter flyover, massing of the colors and guest speakers. More information.
  • Midwest City will hold their annual Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 11 at 10 a.m. The parade begins at Century Boulevard and Southeast 15th Street. More information.

If you know of any events we didn’t mention please include them in the comments or give us a shout on Facebook or Twitter.

festivals, military, parade
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Memorial Day in OKC

Parade

As we’ve written about in the past, Oklahoma City has deep ties to our armed forces. With Memorial Day approaching, we thought it would be a good time to revisit those connections and look at ways you can celebrate and honor those who have fallen in service to our country.

Of course it all starts with Tinker Air Force Base, one of the largest Air Forces bases in the country. Tinker employs more than 26,000 and is our state’s largest single site employer. The base houses the Air Force Sustainment Center which is the focal point for all the Air Force’s weapon systems, providing crucial support in defending our country. You can read more about Tinker AFB in our past post.

Our city and state have also had the honor of having a battleship and a submarine named after us. Most famously the USS Oklahoma, which fought in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Tragically, 429 crewman were killed in the attack as the ship was sunk. The anchor of the ship is located in Campbell Park, just north of Downtown Oklahoma City. Read more about the USS Oklahoma here.

There has also been a submarine and light cruiser christened the USS Oklahoma City. The submarine is currently active and has been used to fight the War on Terror and illegal drug shipments. The light cruiser fought in both WWII and Vietnam and has accumulated more than 13 battle stars. You can read more about those ships here.  

holiday, military, Tinker
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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Thunderbirds

45th Infantry Museum

One of the best ways to celebrate Memorial Day is to visit the 45th Infantry Museum. Located in the Adventure District, the museum is dedicated to telling the story of the 45th Infantry Division.

The 45th Infantry Division (nicknamed the Thunderbirds) was organized in 1923 under the National Defense Act of 1920. The guardsman saw no major action until 1941, when they were one of the first National Guard units activated for World War II. During the war, the 45th participated in four amphibious landings and fought their way across Sicily, Italy, France and Germany.

During the Sicily campaign, the unit served with General George S. Patton. The renowned general had high praise for the 45th, saying, “Your division is one of the best, if not best division in the history of American arms.” The division led the liberation of the Dachau concentration camp in Germany and the museum includes artifacts from this historic event.

The 45th was activated a second time in June of 1950 for the Korean War. The unit was one of only two National Guard divisions to see combat in the Korean War.

The 45th Infantry Division’s contribution to America is distinguished, as nine men were awarded Medals of Honor and the division sustained more than 25,000 battle casualties.

The museum is a must-visit for anyone with an interest in military history, and features a 15-acre park that holds more than 60 different types of combat vehicles. The museum is so dedicated to telling the story of the 45th that admission is free, although donations are appreciated.

Each Memorial Day the museum holds a special ceremony that begins at 10 a.m.

Adventure District, holiday, military, museums
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, November 10, 2015

OKCís ties to the military run deep

Military Color Guard

It’s no secret that Oklahoma City has strong connections to the U.S. military, and as our nation celebrates Veterans Day on Nov. 11, we feel like it is appropriate to honor the ways that the military has shaped the growth of Oklahoma City. Not only have brave Oklahomans served in all branches of the military spanning several decades, but the state of Oklahoma is home to several military bases, including Altus Air Force Base, Vance Air Force Base, Fort Sill Army Base, McAlester Army Ammunition Army Base, and Oklahoma City’s own Tinker Air Force Base.

Tinker Air Force Base has been part of the Oklahoma City community since 1941 and frequent readers of our blog know how the base plays an important role to the region. Not only is it the largest employer in the state, it is also one of the largest Air Force bases in the nation. Currently, Tinker’s estimated economic impact to the region is $3.41 billion annually.

For more ways to feel inspired this Veterans Day, check out area events honoring the military and year-round exhibitions that celebrate Oklahoma City’s military contributions.

holiday, military, Tinker
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Learn more about OKCís military history

display at the 45th Infantry Museum

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.

You can also head out to the 99s Museum of Women Pilots to learn more about the history of women in aviation. One of the best exhibits includes features on female military pilots. Read more about the 99s Museum here.

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 aircrafts that have been part of Tinker’s operations for more than seven decades. 

history, military, museums
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Honoring those who served

45th Infantry Museum Veterans Day ceremony

Events across Oklahoma City will give you plenty of opportunities to celebrate America’s armed forces and honor those who have served. If you know of any events we didn’t mention please include them in the comments or give us a shout of Facebook or Twitter:

  • Oklahoma City Symphonic Band ConcertAt 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 10, the Oklahoma City Symphonic Band will present “A Veterans Day Salute!” concert honoring American veterans. The concert will feature Sousa marches and a special presentation of the Armed Forces salute. View okcband.org for more information.
  • Veterans Day service at the 45th Infantry Division MuseumOn Nov. 11 at 10 a.m., pay tribute to the men and women of the military at this patriotic ceremony, which includes a helicopter flyover, massing of the colors, patriotic music selections from the 145th Army Band and guest speakers.
  • Midwest City Veterans Day ParadeMidwest City will hold their annual Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 11 at 10 a.m. In addition to area marching bands and floats, a warbird flyover will take place during the parade.
parade, holiday, live music, military, museums
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Veterans Day

If you’ve read our blog, you are well aware that Oklahoma City has deep ties to our armed services. The region has a long and proud tradition of supporting Tinker Air Force Base in a myriad of ways. Along with Tinker, Oklahoma is also home to the 45th Infantry Division, who served valiantly in World War II, and the state has ties to the attack at Pearl Harbor. As we celebrate Veterans Day, a day set aside to honor those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, we thought we would look at the ties that bind OKC and our military together.  

As we mentioned, one of the driving forces between our region and the armed forces is Tinker Air Force Base. The base is one of the largest Air Force bases in the country, and provides critical support for our military personnel. The base is also a huge economic driver for our city, as it is the state’s largest single-site employer. You can read more about Tinker’s importance and history in our recent blog post.

military, Tinker
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



Thunderbirds

One of the best ways to see Oklahoma’s military history come alive is to visit the 45th Infantry Museum. Located in the Adventure District, 2145 NE 36th St. to be exact, the museum is dedicated to telling the story of the 45th Infantry Division.

The 45th Infantry Division (nicknamed the Thunderbirds) was organized in 1923 under the National Defense Act of 1920. The guardsman saw no major action until 1941, when they were one of the first National Guard units activated for World War II. During the war, the 45th participated in four amphibious landings and fought their way across Sicily, Italy, France and Germany.

During the Sicily campaign, the unit served with General George S. Patton. The renowned general had high praise for the 45th, saying, “Your division is one of the best, if not best division in the history of American arms.”

The 45th was activated a second time in June of 1950 for the Korean War. The unit was one of only two National Guard divisions to see combat in the Korean War.

The 45th Infantry Division’s contribution to America is distinguished, as nine men were awarded Medals of Honor and the division sustained more than 25,000 battle casualties.

The museum is a must-visit for anyone with an interest in military history, and features a 15-acre park that holds more than 60 different types of combat vehicles. The museum is so dedicated to telling the story of the 45th that admission is free, although donations are appreciated.

Adventure District, military, museums
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
Comments (0)



USS Oklahoma

Oklahomans have always taken pride in the service and valor of the battleship named for our state, the USS Oklahoma. The ship (nicknamed the Okie) was commissioned in 1916 and was the first U.S. warship to utilize oil over coal. During World War I, the ship was stationed off the coast of Ireland and helped protect American convoys in the area. After WWI, the ship helped protect President Woodrow Wilson’s convoy.

After the war, the USS Oklahoma was stationed in Pearl Harbor. During the fateful day of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack, the ship was stuck multiple times by torpedoes, capsized and sank. Many of the crew members bravely continued to fight as they climbed aboard the nearby USS Maryland. Tragically, 429 of the Oklahoma’s crew were killed in the attack. Three medals of honor, three Navy and Marine Corps Medals and one Navy Cross were awarded to sailors who fought on the Oklahoma during the attack.

That would not be the end of the USS Oklahoma’s story. In 1947, there was attempt to tow the ship to San Francisco Bay. During the move, a heavy storm struck and the Oklahoma sank. Its exact location is currently unknown.

In 2003, the U.S. Navy recovered the mast from the Oklahoma and it currently resides in War Memorial Park in Muskogee. The anchor of the ship is located at Campbell Park, just north of downtown OKC. 

military
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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USS Oklahoma City

Although you might not think it (due to lack of ocean coastline), the Navy also has a unit stationed in Oklahoma City and they play a critical role in our nation’s defense. Tinker Air Force base is home to the Navy’s Strategic Communications Wing One. This unit employs more than 1,300 active sailors and provides a plethora of support programs, including maintenance, security and training to the E-6 Mercury fleet. Why is the unit so vital? All communications to America’s submarine fleet go through the E-6 Mercury. In times of a major conflict the E-6 Mercury allows the President and Secretary of Defense to communicate directly with the nation’s nuclear triad of submarines, bombers and missile silos.

Speaking of submarines and the Navy, did you know there was a USS Oklahoma City? First launched in 1985 the USS Oklahoma City is one of 40 Los Angeles-class submarines currently active. Most recently the submarine spent 2007 deployed in the Persian Gulf in support of the War on Terror. The USS Oklahoma City has also been active in stopping illegal drug shipments in the Pacific, seizing more than $1.5 billion in contraband.

Fun fact: there has actually been two USS Oklahoma City ships. The first USS Oklahoma City was a light cruiser that was launched in 1944 and sailed  in both World War II and the Vietnam War. In 1971, the Oklahoma City shot the first successful combat surface-to-surface missile shot in US Navy history. The ship accumulated 13 battle stars and was commemorated at the National Museum of the Pacific War.

Tying all this together is the Oklahoma City Navy League. The nonprofit works tirelessly to provide funding to active duty Navy stationed at Tinker and on the USS Oklahoma City. They provide pen pals, recreation opportunities, emergency leave, company visits and award the Sailor of the Year. They also, along with the Chamber, hold one of the nation’s largest Navy Birthday Balls each year. 

military, Tinker
Posted by: Greater Oklahoma City Chamber
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