The motto: Make it work.The Pershing Rifles Troop L-1 at The University of Toledo did just that when it participated in the 2015 John J. Pershing Memorial Drill Competition and won the championship cup for the third year in a row.
Last-minute substitutions, on-the-spot choreography, and impromptu planning were some of the obstacles the unit had to overcome.
“We are really dedicated; we put in a lot of time and effort practicing five to six times a week. We wanted to prove to ourselves and everyone that we were still the best, and that is what we did at the national competition,” said Michael Gonyea, a junior majoring in supply chain management.
The UT troop took first place in squad regulation, squad exhibition and duet exhibition drills, which are choreographed routines that showcase techniques and maneuvers.
UT also earned second place in color guard and platoon exhibition drills, where cadets perform a series of specific commands and are judged on each individual movement they make.
“It felt great to win because it showed all the hard work we put in and all the planning and organizing it took to achieve our goal,” said Alex Meier, a sophomore majoring in chemical engineering. “To know we were all in it for each other and did not want to let each other down was the most gratifying part of the experience for me.”
The National Society of Pershing Rifles promotes precision rifle drill as a means to develop leadership traits in students at nearly 200 college campuses across the country.
More than 400 college ROTC and high school JROTC cadets from the United States participated in the competition in March in Richmond, Va.