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Leadership Oklahoma's 31st Class was treated to a crash course on life at Fort Sill. They experienced basic combat, PT at 5:00 AM, a basic training graduation ceremony and aspects of the Basic Officer Leader Course (BOLC). The class was welcomed to Lawton with the support of Cameron University and several local businesses. Click here to see some photos from the event, and read reflections on the session from several class members below.

Jodi Cline
2017-2018 Adult Program Chair
Class XXVI and Lifetime Member

Dwayne Martin
Ward IV Councilman
City of Altus

Our session at Ft. Sill was awesome and especially significant for me. My first BCT began on September 10, 1984, when I reported to Delta Battery, 7th Training Battalion, at Ft Sill. Thirty-three years later, as a member of LOK, I found myself back at Ft Sill, for my second (abbreviated) BCT. It truly felt like a homecoming.

On Thursday, when I boarded the bus for the Goodyear tour, I found a great friend driving the bus. His name is Lewis Ahrens and he was the Battalion Command Sergeant Major of 1/171 FA when I was a member of that unit until 1998. Later that afternoon, when we went to the Patriot Club, I immediately ran into Mike Kunz. I first met Mike at FOB Shield, Baghdad where he was a LTC. He has since retired from active duty and is now the Ft Sill Protocol Officer. A few minutes later, I saw COL Lee Overby. The last time I saw him, he was a CPT. We trained together at Ft Riley, KS and deployed to Iraq together in Oct `06. He is now the 434th FA BDE CDR. The coincidences didn’t stop there. Not only did I find myself back at Ft Sill for BCT, I was in the same building, same floor, same barracks and the very same bunk. To say that I experienced déjà vu would be an extreme understatement. It was like stepping into a time capsule.

There have been a few changes. In `84, we spent countless hours polishing the barracks floor. Now the floors are nonskid, which is much better. Also, back then, each starship had its own DFAC. Now they are all consolidated. That too is an improvement. They have also made the PT much, much more difficult. I don’t know what’s up with that.

Although there must have been unpleasant parts of my first BCT in `84, I remember none of them. The memories that came rushing back were the ones related to success, accomplishment, new friendships, and graduation. This time, thanks to LOK, I had a fantastic time and once again, I am making new, life-long friends all over again.

Thanks LOK!

Nathan Shirley
Chief Financial Officer
Cemplex Group

On September 28, several LOK Class 31 members were treated to a personal Fort Sill Historical Tour by Mr. Frank Siltman, Director of the Museums, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill. The depth and breadth of the museums are amazing and Mr. Siltman was able to bring the history to life. As our classmate Mike Dooley commented, Frank Siltman is a walking encyclopedia on all things associated with Fort Sill, past and present. We first toured the US Army Field Artillery Museum which was opened in 2009 and is a fascinating collection with pieces as small as ammo up to the largest Howitzers and from the 1700's to present day. The museum contains an expansive collection both inside and surrounding the museum.

The base is also home to the Fort Sill National Historic Landmark and Museum and we were able to complete a whirlwind tour of this fabulous treasure. The exhibits are well done and provide a true historical perspective on the impact the fort and its inhabitants have had on Oklahoma. It chronicles the building of the base by the Buffalo Soldiers after Civil War; and with many of the original buildings still standing, you get a true sense of what life was like during that period. The "Warrior Gallery" chronicled the Native American life on and around the confines of Fort Sill and many of its storied occupants including Geronimo who is buried on Fort Sill. This adventure through Oklahoma history is extremely worthy of knowing.

We finished our tour with viewing many Air Artillery pieces housed in the Air Defense Artillery Museum. The museum is overflowing with historical artifacts and plans to move to a larger facility near the Artillery Museum. The big guns are impressive and the museum tells their story of protection and precision.

I and many of our classmates vowed to return to spend more time getting to know the historical significance of these treasured resources. The Ft. Sill museums are open to the public Tuesday to Saturday 9am to 5pm.


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