The 1940s were turbulent years for OMA, for reasons that were largely political.
OMA’s father, H. Tom Kight, and new governor Leon C. Phillips did not see eye to eye, a situation that didn’t bode well for the school once Phillips took charge of the state.
He investigated the school’s finances, appointed a new board of regents, and stopped OMA from employing or giving financial aid to any of its students, along with all of that, the governor floated the idea of converting OMA into an Army training school.
The political war claimed Col. Downs, who left at the beginning of the decade.
Soon, however, war of a far greater magnitude overshadowed the governmental tussles surrounding the school, and by late 1942, OMA had gone to a 12-month school year, the better to turn out young officers for service in World War II.
West Point graduate John C. Hamilton and his successor, former Fort Sill Army commander Kenneth S. Perkins, were OMA’s two major presidents during the war years.
In 1947, after the war ended, tanks replaced horses on the Hill, as the R.O.T.C. cavalry unit became an armored cavalry unit. And a year before that, H. Tom Kight passed away.