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Histories for Ft. Sill Oklahoma Artillery OCS Class 8-66

Officer candidate School Hall of Fame
On 14 November 1967, Colonel Marlin W. Camp, Commander of the Officer Candidate Brigade at that time, directed Colonel Henry A. Grace, then Deputy Commanding Officer, to form a committee of officers to consider establishing an Artillery Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame. The Field Artillery Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame was established on 26 June 1968 by General Order Number 115, Headquarters, United States Army Artillery and Missile Center, Fort Sill, Oklahoma. During the 32-year history of the Field Artillery OCS at Fort Sill, 47,500 second lieutenants were graduated. The Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame honors the heroism and exceptional achievement of its graduates and recognizes the outstanding contributions of these OCS officers to their country and the Field Artillery. With an increasing demand for artillery officers at the outbreak of World War II, the Field Artillery Officer Candidate School was officially opened in 1941. The first class of Field Artillery officer candidates reported to Fort Sill on 10 July of that year. It was billeted in tents in the vicinity of the present 95th AG (Welcome Center). The school offered a 13-week course for warrant officers and enlisted men desiring to become second lieutenants. Captain Carl H. Jark was assigned as the school's first commandant. Five years later, on 12 December 1946 with the graduation of Class 179, the school closed, having commissioned more than 26,000 second lieutenants. The Korean mobilization resulted in the OCS' being reopened on 21 February 1951 when the first class since World War II reported to attend the new 23-week course. On 7 July 1973, after the American withdrawal from the War in Vietnam, Fort Sill's Officer Candidate School officially closed with the graduation of 26 Field Artillerymen. During its history, the Field Artillery OCS has produced a remarkable number of heroes. Two of these men warrant special mention. First Lieutenant James E. Robinson, Jr., a 1943 graduate, was the only artillery officer to be awarded the Medal of Honor during World War II. His award was presented posthumously for his actions in an attack near Untergresheim, Germany, in 1945. The old OCS area where the 95th AG is located today is named "Robinson Barracks" in his honor. Second Lieutenant Harold B. Durham, Jr., was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions while serving as a forward observer in Vietnam in 1967. The building housing the OCS Hall of Fame was named "Durham Hall" in his honor.on 20 May 1999 H. Malcolm Baldrige, former Secretary of Commerce, a 1944 graduate; General (Retired) Jack N. Merritt, former President and Chief Operating Officer of the Association of United States Army, a 1953 graduate; Martin R. Hoffman, former Secretary of the Army, a 1955 graduate; and General John M. Shalikashvili, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a 1959 graduate, are among the prominent artillerymen inducted into the Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame will continue to honor and preserve the accomplishments of its graduates. The Hall of Fame is open only by appointment by calling the HHB Commander at Fort Sill at 580-442-5580. Class 8-66 Officer Candidate School 8-66 began during the build up of the Vietnam War. Many of the graduates went to Vietnam and served their country in combat. Several of the graduates for this class won Service Medals including Purple Hearts and many left the service with the rank of Captain in recognition of their competence and leadership. Based on preliminary research, most of the graduates returned to civilian life after their 2-4 year service commitment. The Army was undergoing a reduction in force in the early 1970's from the withdrawal from Vietnam and thus many of Class 8-66 graduates returned to civilian life with an outstanding record of service accomplishment.

Posted by David Clement
May 30 2001 10:24:35:000AM

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