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November 2013 Policy Study, Number 13-7

   

America Needs America's Energy

   

Oil Patch Warriors

   

 

At this year’s Oklahoma Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Renaissance Hotel in Tulsa, Nancy and I had the opportunity to sit at a table with Oklahoma Hall of Fame 1999 inductee and famed sculptor Jay O’Meilia.

 

I shared with Jay that I had referenced one of his works in my remarks at the John Massey Annual Lectureship in 2009, Southeastern Oklahoma State University. At the lectureship, I talked about Jay’s famed sculpture, the “Oil Patch Warrior,” which stands in honor and in remembrance to the many from the “oil patch” who have made great sacrifices throughout the history of the American oil and gas industry.

 

As mentioned in my book pages 86-87, during World War II the British government, our ally, needed more oil to defeat the Germans. However, most of the oil they used was imported. Then oil was discovered in England’s Sherwood Forest, but the British needed America’s help because they did not have the technological know-how to drill and produce it. Under secret arrangements made in February 1943, the American government sent forty-four oil field workers from Oklahoma to assist. These employees from Oklahoma were known as the “Oil Patch Warriors.”

 

The drilling team and four rigs imported from the U.S. contributed significantly to the British war effort by boosting production at the field near Duke’s Wood from 300 barrels per day to 3,000 barrels per day in double quick time. By the time the drilling team from two Oklahoma companies sailed home in the spring of 1944, they had drilled 106 wells. In honor of their sacrifice, a monument by sculptor Jay O’Meilia was erected in the Sherwood Forest by The Energy Advocates, a nonprofit organization that raised the money for the seven-foot-high statute of a driller, the “Oil Patch Warrior.”

 

The British experience during World War II is a lesson in the necessity of energy security. It is my opinion that we can meet the challenge of achieving our energy security needs. America Needs America’s Energy and we should always remember all those from the “oil patch” who have made great sacrifices under extreme challenging conditions.

 

   

 

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