In my time in the Boston University ROTC program, I can honestly say the best decision I made was joining Pershing Rifles. The training I received as a pledge and as a member has stuck with me today more than any of my Army training, to include Ranger school. The challenges I faced as a Pershing Rifles Pledge paid off exponentially and made much of the rigorous training and deployments I have faced in the Army seem much easier. Furthermore, Pledge Term and the training and experiences I had as a member taught me essential skills of time management, organization, adapting to change, and mental endurance.
The first major challenge I faced as a new 2LT was attending Ranger School. After P/R Pledge Term, Ranger school seemed easy. My ability to remain mentally tough while I was physically exhausted allowed me to complete the school with ease and earn my Ranger Tab. While my fellow students were not prepared for such demanding training, the skills that I learned as a Pershing Rifleman kept me focused and driven.
Two weeks after completing Ranger School, I immediately deployed to Baghdad, Iraq. I took command of a Platoon in combat as soon as I arrived. As the tip of the Surge into Iraq, my troop was stationed in a small Joint Security Station at the edge of Sadr City. Once again, the confidence and poise and I gained as a Pershing Rifleman allowed me to quickly become comfortable leading paratroopers in combat. At the end of the deployment, my platoon was the only one in the Battalion that didn’t hit an IED or receive any serious casualties.
After 20 months as a Platoon Leader, I became the Assistant Operations Officer for my Squadron. Here the organizational and time management skills that I learned as a Pershing Rifleman were invaluable. This was further tested when my squadron received extremely short notice to deploy to Haiti. My Squadron, which was acting as the Army’s Global Response Force, was on a field training exercise when we were notified at 0430 on 13 January 2010, that we were to deploy by 1100 that same day. I was one of the first 100 to deploy and was the second man on the ground. Operation Unified Response in Haiti was something I had not trained for, but my ability to adapt to change and make quick decisions, which I learned as a Pershing Rifleman, was instrumental in my Squadron’s successful impact immediately after the earthquake.
For my current position, I was asked to be the Squadron S-4. Prior to this, I had no logistical experience in my Army career, but once again the foundation I received as a Pershing Rifleman allowed me to quickly adapt and succeed.
I cannot stress enough how the Pershing Rifles have set me up for success in my Army career. Starting Freshman year in college through today, it is an experience that I will remember forever. The impact of the program became evident immediately. While it was physically and mentally difficult as a pledge, it is something I would go through ten times over after realizing the benefits now. Finally, the relationships and bonds I have made with my P/R Brothers and Sisters remain to this day, and I can say they are many of my closest friends.
Kevin J. Carroll
CPT Carroll graduated from Boston University in 2006 and was commissioned as an Armor officer. After commissioning he attended the Armor Officer Basic Course, Scout Leaders Course, and Ranger School, and since then has been stationed at Ft. Bragg with the 1st Squadron Cavalry Regiment (Airborne) (Recon). In his time there he has been deployed once to Iraq as a Scout Platoon Leader, and most recently to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as the Squadron Assistant Operations Officer. Currently he is serving as the Squadron S-4, for which he was selected by his Squadron Commander over several more experienced and senior officers.