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K-State Today

September 18, 2019

Pershing Rifle cadets participate in Pershing Days parade

Submitted by Communications and Marketing

Kansas State University Army ROTC cadets, all members of the K-State's National Society of Pershing Rifles Company G-7, helped lead the parade as members of the color guard at Pershing Days Sept. 14 in Laclede, Missouri.

The annual celebration commemorates the birthday of Laclede's most famous son, John J. Pershing, who led American forces to victory in World War I and became the only man ever to hold the six-star rank of general of the Armies during his lifetime. Sept. 15 marked the 159th anniversary of Gen. Pershing's birth.

The unusual eight-person color guard that led the parade included the flags of all branches of the U.S. armed forces, as well as cadets from K-State and the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Now observing its 125th anniversary, the Pershing Rifles is the foremost national military honor society for ROTC cadets and midshipmen. It traces its lineage to 1891, when then-2nd Lt. Pershing formed a select unit that epitomized military leadership, academic excellence and military drill while heading the military training program at Nebraska.

The original cadet members named the unit in honor of their mentor and drillmaster. The Pershing Rifles grew from its Nebraska roots and today numbers some 50 units located at campuses across the U.S. Pershing Rifles alumni have served the nation as military officers in every conflict since the Spanish-American War, including luminaries like former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Colin Powell and actor James Earl Jones.

Participating in the parade from K-State included the following Army ROTC and Pershing Rifles cadets:

Maximillian Curtis, senior in secondary education, Lansing, who served as the Color Guard commander; Spencer Weiser, senior in political science, Manhattan; and Mary Houts, junior in animal sciences and industry, Vicksburg, Michigan. 

Kimberly Koblas, Kansas Army National Guard member and senior in pre-nursing, Buffalo Grove, Illinois, also participated in the parade. 

Attending to support the team were Ashley Robinson, junior in parks management, Overland Park, and Ramsey McVey, sophomore in biological sciences, St. John.