Founded by General of the Armies (then-Lieutenant) John J. Pershing in 1891, the Society was formed to take a group of young cadets to a higher level of discipline, attention to detail, and leadership.  Pershing decided that the most efficient method to accomplish this goal was to form the young men into a proficient drill team.  Through rigorous training, teamwork, and dedication he also formed something else – a brotherhood.  Beginning in the 1920’s, affiliation with the Pershing Rifles was opened to precision drill teams located at ROTC units across the nation- an invitation we are once again extending.

The Pershing Rifles upholds a tradition of excellence that encompasses the entire person – student, leader, and athlete.  Our basis flows through armed regulation and trick drill as it has for over 120 years.  Rifle drill holds a unique potential to train multiple dimensions at one time.  Physical strength and endurance, attention to detail, teamwork, and leadership skills are stressed.  As each new group accomplishes these goals, they also forge the bonds that will connect them to our members past, present, and future.   Our alumni, widespread throughout the civilian and military sectors, provide opportunities for mentorship and networking as Riflemen transition to life after college.   Our National events also increase networking opportunities for our members among their peers while influencing the direction of the Society, competing in a number of drill events, and flat-out having fun.

Pershing Rifles units field proficient exhibition drill teams and stand ready to represent both our Society and their host program in color guards for school sports, honor guards for military ceremonies or funerals, and serve as representatives in public eye at parades and city festivals.  These men and women are the visible face of ROTC to the community and spark interest in military service among high school youth.  For young men and women in JROTC units there is an additional link that draws them to one school over another- the ability to continue drilling.

We strive to train highly competent, well-rounded leaders.  To this end units are encouraged to train members in basic military skills such as basic rifle marksmanship, land navigation, and physical training in addition to armed drill.  Opportunities are made available to test themselves against their peers through training exercises, postal competitions, as well as Regimental and National events.  Our units not only participate in memorial ceremonies for our veterans and fallen comrades, but also volunteer in homeless shelters, raise money for cancer centers, and take a stand against domestic violence.  They recognize the impact of service to others in the community.

One of our greatest benefits is the opportunity for early leadership.  Beginning from the completion of the induction process, Riflemen have the opportunity to hold numerous positions within their host unit – from drill team commander through the various staff sections to unit command.  This provides these young men and women valuable experience that will benefit both the individual and the ROTC unit as they step into leadership and training roles.  As our members’ experience and demonstrated competence grows, so to do the opportunities.  Regimental and National positions allow Riflemen experience with command of multiple units, delegation, event planning, risk management, coordination, problem solving with subordinate and superior commands, inter-service communication, speaking skills, presentation, preparation and team work.


The current Chartering Process of the National Society of Pershing Rifles is broken down into four distinct phases; the Application Phase, the Interim Phase, Attendance at the National Convention, and the Probationary Phase.

The Application Phase

During the Application Phase, prospective units will provide the National Headquarters with the following:

  • Unit By-Laws and Constitution
  • Written Approval from the PMS/PAS/PNS
  • Unit Table of Organization (Roster)
  • ROTC and University Contact Information
  • Chartering Fee (See Below)

Prospective units are required to register with their Student Activities Office and / or Student Government for “Student Group on Campus” status.  Proof of such status is also required.

To begin, simply complete the form to the right and a member of the National Headquarters Staff will contact you.

The Interim Phase

At this time, the prospective unit begins preparing for induction into the National Society of Pershing Rifles.  Time is spent on learning the history of the organization and its founder, and in preparing for attendance at the annual National Convention.

Focus during the Interim Phase is placed on exhibition drill, the cornerstone of the Society.  Prospective units will be required to perform an exhibition drill routine at the National Convention in order to display progress in the subject matter.

Also during this time, a Pershing Rifles Contact will be assigned to the prospective unit.  This individual’s responsibility is to assist the prospective unit by any means necessary during the Expansion Process.  The Pershing Rifles Contact will also physically inspect the prospective unit, and will receive weekly reports on the status of the unit in order to help ensure the unit is on track for induction at the National Convention.

Attendance at the National Convention

During the National Convention, several things will happen.  First, the Commanding Officer of the Prospective Unit will address the National Legislative Body.  This address is meant to focus on reasons for the unit’s interest in the Society, and what it plans to bring to the organization upon induction.  The prospective unit will then perform an exhibition drill routine before the National Legislative Body.  Emphasis is focused on displaying an attempt to master exhibition drill, not mastering of the art itself.

Upon induction, the prospective unit will be authorized to compete in the John J. Pershing Memorial Drill Competition, and will be allowed to attend to annual Dining-In, after the Drill Competition.

The Probationary Phase

Once the prospective unit has been inducted into the National Society of Pershing Rifles at the National Convention, their first year as a Pershing Rifles Unit will be spent in the Probationary Phase of the process.  During this time, the unit will keep in regular contact with the Pershing Rifles Contact, and the National Headquarters to ensure that the unit is conducting itself in accordance with the traditions and by-laws established by the National Society of Pershing Rifles.

Chartering Fee

A non-refundable Chartering Fee is required for all prospective units.  This fee covers the cost of all printing and mailing services associated with the Chartering Process, as well as administrative fees required for the prospective unit’s integration into the Pershing Rifles’ Unit Management System.

For information on the chartering fee, please contact