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Oklahoma and the 45th Infantry Thunderbirds in World War II

Oklahomans suffered through the marathon struggle to defeat Germany, Japan, and Italy like all Americans did, but its fighting men left an indelible legacy of bravery and sacrifice. More than six thousand died and eleven thousand others were wounded. Most Oklahoma servicemen shipped overseas for little pay, away from family and friends for months or even years, multitudes of them suffering in malaria-ridden islands and jungles or freezing forests and mountains, not to mention experiencing the terrors of combat and fear of maiming, capture, or death.

The Thunderbirds man a frozen roadblock during the fearsome Battle of the Bulge, December 1944.