For the ninth time in school history, Company C-4 of the Pershing Rifles has claimed the national championship in drill competition. The 30-member unit brought the top prize back to the Upstate in competition last month in Jacksonville, Fla., against 14 other teams.
“The achievement by these young men and women is a testament to their discipline and perseverance,” said Lt. Col. K. Todd Crawford ’96, professor of military leadership. “Through precision and expert technique, Company C-4 established itself as the most elite drill team at the Pershing Rifles National Convention.”
Company C-4, commanded by Capt. Evan Dunker, a senior from Aiken, was first established in 1939 at Clemson. The Pershing Rifles unit is a professional military fraternity dedicated to preserving Clemson’s military heritage by performing as color guards, and doing 21-gun salutes and professional drill routines during ceremonial occasions around the Clemson community.
“We are proud to have upheld Clemson’s military heritage by winning this competition,” Dunker said. “Our unit showed tremendous discipline and dedication in being selected as the best in the country. It’s an honor to have brought this standard of excellence back to the Clemson campus.”
Though comprised primarily of ROTC students, Pershing Rifles is open to civilians on campus also. Dunker said the standards are high and that solid academics, sound character and being physically fit are prerequisites to making the grade. In winning the Pershing Rifles Varsity Rifles Championship, Company C-4 competed in every event and won first place in Platoon Regulation and Squad Exhibition competitions.
The National Society of Pershing Rifles was founded in 1894 by Lt. John J. Pershing, a professor of military science at the University of Nebraska. Pershing later became general of the armies.