U.S. ARMY ROTC PERSHING RIFLES TAB

The Pershing Rifles were originally formed in 1891 by then-Lieutenant John J. Pershing who was serving as a Professor of Military Science and Tactics at the University of Nebraska and Lincoln. Pershing’s hand-picked company went on to win a national drill competition the next year, and in 1894 changed its name to Varsity Rifles before settling on Pershing Rifles to honor Pershing’s role as the group’s mentor and patron upon his departure from the school in 1895.

The turmoil of World War I led to the group suspending activities (in part due to the temporary dissolution of the Reserve Officer Training Program), but in 1919 it reformed as an organization for junior officers before becoming a fraternal organization for ROTC basic course cadets. As it grew in popularity, similar organizations were launched at other universities, one of which (at Ohio State) applied for affiliation with the University of Nebraska Pershing Rifles. Ultimately an agreement was reached that led to the creation of a nationwide Pershing Rifles organization.

Today, membership is primarily aimed at students enrolled in Army, Navy, or Air Force ROTC programs, but it is also offered to any student enrolled in any college or university in the U.S. or Puerto Rico who has a strong interest in the Armed Forces but does plan a military career after graduation. The current Pershing Rifles headquarters are in Sanford, North Carolina.
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