The National Society of Pershing Rifles is for all intents and purposes, a civilian organization. That is, there are no official ties between the Society and the Department of Defense, or any branch of service within the United States Military. However, there does exist between the National Society of Pershing Rifles, and the various branches of the United States Armed Forces, a special relationship centered on mutual support.
Support from ROTC
The largest level of support offered to the Society from the Reserve Officer Training Corps is found at the local level; that is by Professors of Military Science, Naval Science, and / or Aerospace Studies. This fact is generally a result of the day to day contact between ROTC Detachment Commanders and their cadets or midshipmen participating in the Pershing Rifles. They are the biggest witnesses to the hard work and dedication of these students towards their studies, ROTC, the Pershing Rifles, and to excellence in general.
Throughout the National Society of Pershing Rifles, ROTC Detachment Commanders have, and continue to support the Society by assisting Pershing Riflemen enrolled in ROTC at their units by securing uniforms, drill weapons, and even transportation to and from national events.
Outside of the local level, Pershing Riflemen within positions of Senior Leadership (Regimental and National Levels) regularly meet with Regional and Command Level ROTC Commanders to discuss how the Society is affecting the cadets and midshipmen within each respective area of operation.
Support from the Pershing Rifles
In return for the support given by the Reserve Officer Training Corps, the National Society of Pershing Rifles actively supports ROTC Commanders in three specific areas; recruitment, retention, and visibility. These benefits are above and beyond the benefits received by individual cadets and midshipmen participating in the Pershing Rifles.
Pershing Riflemen actively assist in recruitment in a series of ways. Because approximately 92% of the membership of the Pershing Rifles is composed of students enrolled in ROTC, Pershing Rifles Commanders generally understand that by increasing the strength of their local ROTC Unit, they are indirectly increasing the strength of their Company.
Pershing Riflemen can promote their local ROTC Unit by physically assisting Detachment Commanders and Enrollment Officers in handing out flyers, displaying posters, and manning recruitment tables. Because of the advanced leadership structure of the Society, most Pershing Riflemen gain important leadership traits at an earlier stage than the rest of their peers. These traits will become evident in how they conduct themselves, and present themselves to the public, especially in uniform. They stand as an example for their fellow students, and more often then not, their peers will emulate them.
As already noted above, the National Society of Pershing Rifles is primarily composed of cadets and midshipmen already enrolled in ROTC. Approximately 8% of our membership however, is composed of civilians (students not enrolled in ROTC). Because the Society is a military orientated organization, civilians participating in the Pershing Rifles often gain a valuable understanding of the military through the Society. Civilian members have been known to decide to enroll in ROTC after gaining an introduction to the military through the Pershing Rifles.
Lastly and most often Pershing Riflemen assist in the recruitment program of their local ROTC Unit by simply doing what they do best, leading and drilling. Because the uniform for most Pershing Riflemen is simply an alteration of the uniform worn by cadets (Service Uniform with P/R Insignia) – when seen conducting exhibition drill, tactical training exercises, color guard details, honor guard details, etc – people are automatically reminded of the United States Military and the Reserve Officer Training Corps.
The level at which the National Society of Pershing Rifles can assist in the retention efforts of a particular ROTC Detachment generally depends on the level of support given to the Pershing Rifles by Detachment Commanders and their staffs. If the ROTC Detachment is actively involved in the operations of the Pershing Rifles located at their unit, an increased level of loyalty, dedication, and devotion to the ROTC and the United States Military ensues. As such, Detachment Commanders are more likely to retain most, if not all of their cadets and midshipmen participating in the Pershing Rifles.
As outlined in the previous pages, Pershing Rifles Units generally supply the Color Guard, Honor Guard, and Drill Team of a local ROTC Detachment, or host university. The successful execution of high profile events (such as a Color Guard performed for a high ranking member of government or the military) will always portray positively the individuals and organization participating in the event. Pershing Riflemen are unique in the fact that they not only represent themselves and the Society, but they further represent their host university and ROTC Departments. Therefore, by simply conducting themselves as Pershing Riflemen, cadets and midshipmen participating in the Society will often provide an increased level of visibility for the Reserve Officer Training Corps.