Yukon Veterans Museum gets new collection

Unique stories emerge from aged materials

Jerry Icenhower, the archivist at the Yukon Veterans Museum, pauses to reflect on the history of a new display, which showcases items dating back to 1945 and the battle of Okinawa. (Photo by Emily Loughridge)

By Emily Loughridge
Contributing Writer

The Yukon Veterans Museum represents each branch of the military through their nearly 100 displays, with artifacts including clothing, maps, newspapers, medals, and more, all with the goal of celebrating those who fought for their country.

Recently a new permanent display was added to the museum (1010 W Main), due to donations of items from families.

Jerry Icenhower, the museum’s archivist, said that the new display has three main pieces, including a jacket, a flag and four Yank magazines. All of the items are from 1945 and include a unique story to how they ended up in Yukon’s veteran museum.

“There’s kind of an unwritten rule,” Icenhower said. “That if you have three of anything, you have a collection.”

An unassuming jacket hangs in a display case in an alcove left of the entrance.

The jacket’s story spans 75 years, from when a man lost the jacket during a typhoon in Okinawa to when it was returned to his doorstep in 2020.

After losing the jacket, it was found in an Army-Navy store in Maine.

Nearly three decades after purchasing the jacket, the woman’s son found it and grew curious about the name written on the inside.

After some searching the owner, John Radcliffe was found living in Yukon. During his service he was a heavy equipment operator who was stationed in Guma, Okinawa and Imo Jima.

Above the jacket, a tattered flag flies with pride. The well-known red and white stripes are not as pristine as they used to be. But once again a unique story emerges from the aged material.

A photo of the USS Bedford Victory, an ammunition ship, hangs beside the flag, with a message from Mack P. McCabe which states that the flag flew on his ship for 42 days and nights through a combat zone.

The ship was sailing through the battle of Okinawa, which lasted from April 25 to June 6, 1945.

A tattered American flag hangs over several displayed items. The flag was flown on the USS Bedford Victory for over a month in the combat zone during the battle of Okinawa. (Photo by Emily Loughridge)


The Yukon Veterans Museum has been a part of its community for 10 years now, as they celebrate their 10th anniversary in mid-October.

The anniversary will be accompanied by their annual gala on Oct. 19 at the Dale Robertson Center, 1200 Lakeshore.

The night will hear from an Air Force recruiting commander, the OKC Chorus and will witness the Choctaw Indian Nation Color Guard.

Rick Cacini, the museum’s curator, said that over the years the museum has impact Yukon’s community in a number of ways, including assisting the economy, providing a place for veterans to meet and talk, is a tourist attraction for the city and state, and is a place to display historic events and artifacts.

Icenhower said the museum provides a place to teach history, which people may not learn in schools.

The museum lays host to artifacts from the Revolutionary War to America’s most recent conflict, according to Icenhower.

Most people can walk into the museum and find something related to them.

On Saturday, June 3, the museum hosted an event by the Yukon American Legion Post 160 which invited families to visit the museum.

Cacini said that around 40 plus families visited, ate hot dogs, and walked through the museum.

Michael Devenitch, commander of the Yukon American Legion Post 160, said that children were given flags, educational flag books, and patriotic coloring pages. He continued to say that tours were given to excited children and parents.

The goal of the event was to bring together veterans and local residents to visit a museum that began with residents donating artifacts. He said it is important to come support the veterans of our community, see what the veterans have achieved, and learn the history.