Pershing Rifles is a military-oriented, national honor society, with fraternal origins. Pershing Rifles was founded in 1894 as a drill unit at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. It is the oldest continuously operating U.S. college organization dedicated to military drill. Originally named Varsity Rifles, members renamed the organization in honor of their mentor and patron, 2nd Lieutenant (later General of the Armies of the United States) John J. Pershing, upon his departure from the university in 1895.
Pershing Rifles became a national organization in 1928 expanding to include several other universities, with companies consisting of drill teams as well as tactical units. Together, these units form what is known as the National Society of Pershing Rifles.
Ultimately, the purpose of the National Society of Pershing Rifles is, “to develop, to the highest degree possible, outstanding traits of leadership, military science, military bearing, and discipline within the framework of a military oriented, honorary fraternity.”
The mission of the National Society of Pershing Rifles is to:
- To aid in the development of successful officers in the Army, Navy, and Air Force.
- To foster camaraderie and esprit de corps among all three Reserve Officers’ Training Corps programs.
- To further the purpose, traditions, and concepts of the United States Army, Navy, and Air Force.
- To give civilians an opportunity to be part of a military organization without formal commitment to the military.