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ETSU ROTC cadets continue to excel in national competitions

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JOHNSON CITY (April 3, 2014) — East Tennessee State University’s Army ROTC cadets have participated in several national events recently.

ETSU’s Pershing Rifles group, recently accepted into the Pershing Rifles National Society, traveled to Richmond, Va., during the university’s spring break, to attend the Society’s convention. Established in 1894, Pershing Rifles is the oldest continuously operating organization dedicated to military drill. The founder of the organization was John Pershing, a second lieutenant who later became general of the armies, when he was a military instructor at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

As a new unit just accepted by the society, ETSU was not able to compete; however, the cadets were selected to present the colors during the opening ceremony, and, in addition, ETSU Cadet Zachary Schuette was selected as the cadet command sergeant major of the Pershing Rifles Society at the national level, with Cadet Jonathan Shackelford appointed as cadet regimental commander in charge of programs in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi and Tennessee.

A few weeks later, 20 cadets from ETSU and the university’s adjunct program at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise competed at the Xavier Best Cadet Ranger Competition hosted by Xavier University in Cincinnati. Of 42 teams in competition, the ETSU team of Joshua McDaniel and Alex Dayton took home the championship trophy, while their fellow ETSU cadets Zachary Schuette and Phillip Denton earned sixth place.

At the same time, two additional Buc Battalion teams joined 6,200 other participants at the Bataan Memorial March in White Sands, N.M. The event commemorates the World War II Bataan Death March, when over 75,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war were forced to march 65 miles across the Bataan Peninsula under the harshest conditions, with tens of thousands dying along the way. In memory of those prisoners, participants undertake a 26.2 mile trek over rough terrain.

The ETSU and UVA-Wise teams entered the Military Heavy category, requiring them to march in Army combat uniforms while carrying 35-pound packs.

All 10 Buc Battalion cadets completed the course. The ETSU team earned a 10th place finish, and the UVA-Wise team placed 25th in the competition.   

For further information, contact the ETSU Department of Military Science at (423) 439-4269.