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Pershing Rifles and Mountain Man March team take top honors at national competitions

BOONE—The Pershing Rifle Drill team from Appalachian State University’s ROTC program won third place overall in the annual Pershing Rifle National Competition held in March in Richmond, Va. The team also placed first in the Platoon Armed Regulation Drill and third in the Squad Armed Regulation Drill and Squad Exhibition Drill.

View larger imageAppalachian’s Pershing Rifles placed third overall at the Pershing Rifle National Competition.View larger imageTwenty-three ROTC cadets from Appalachian State University competed in various events within the Mountain Man Memorial March with many placing in the top three. A five-member team won the “heavy” event.

The competition fosters esprit-de-corps, teamwork, discipline and attention to detail.

Cadets in the ROTC program also took top honors in the Mountain Man Memorial March held April 14 in Gatlinburg, Tenn.

A five-member team won the heavy event, the march’s premier event in which each member must complete the 26.2 miles wearing Army combat uniform, boots and a 35-pound rucksack.

The march or run through the Great Smoky Mountains began as a way to honor a fallen, University of Tennessee alumnus, 1st Lt. Frank Walkup. The event expanded into a tribute that honors all fallen American heroes. It has become the largest Gold Star Mother recognition ceremony in the Southeast.

The event consists of three running distances – 10K, half marathon and full marathon. There also are two marching distances – the half marathon and full marathon.

“I am extremely proud of all the cadets who competed in both of these events,” said Lt. Col. David W. Cox, battalion commander and chair of the Department of Military Science and Leadership. “The Pershing Rifle Drill Team gave up their spring break to stay in Boone and practice a lot of hours for the national competition.”

Cox also spoke of the dedication of the cadets who competed in the Mountain Man Memorial March. “They trained for months to prepare for their race. Two days a week they got up between 2 and 3 a.m. so they could complete a three- to five-hour foot march before 7 a.m. so they would not miss any class. On many of those days the temperatures were below 20 degrees. All of these cadets demonstrated a lot of character and commitment to do what they did,” he said.

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