45th Infantry Division Museum
A spectacular collection of military artifacts is housed at the 45th Infantry Division Museum in Oklahoma City. Exhibits in the museum present these fascinating objects to narrate the military history of Oklahoma's own 45th Infantry Division of the National Guard, also known as the Thunderbirds. The museum highlights other aspects of American military history as well.
The museum showcases intriguing exhibits such as the Reaves Firearm Collection, in which basic infantry and cavalry weapons from the Revolutionary War to the Vietnam War are displayed. One of the most important items in the collection is the Mosby Cannon, a Confederate cannon that was captured by the Union army in 1863 during the Civil War. Over 200 World War II cartoons by 45th Infantry Division soldier Bill Mauldin, most produced from 1944 to 1945, reside in the museum. His illustrations provided a much-needed sense of humor to the horrors of wartime. The Hall of Flags features exhibits that narrate Oklahoma's early military history, beginning with the history of its forts. These exhibits, including photographs, documents and artifacts, also detail Civil War battles that took place in Oklahoma, the Spanish-American War and World War I.
Exhibits detailing the role of the 45th Infantry Division in both World War II and the Korean War are located in the 45th Infantry Division Museum. The World War II exhibit features photographs and artifacts from the division's activity in Europe, beginning with four landings in Sicily in 1943, called Operation Husky. Their journey through Sicily, Italy, France and then into Germany is chronicled. Other fascinating items in the World War II exhibit include artifacts once owned by Adolf Hitler, including a mirror from the bedroom of the Berlin Bunker, Nazi uniforms and German dress daggers. The Korean War exhibit includes information about the 45th Infantry Division's actions in the war, a Maxim machine gun captured from the enemy and artifacts from the war.
Outside on the grounds of the 45th Infantry Division Museum is Thunderbird Park. Some of the larger artifacts of Oklahoma's military history are located there, including tanks, aircraft and large guns. The 45th Infantry Division Monument rises up in the park 40 feet high and honors the men of the division who served in both World War II and the Korean War.