As a freshman in Army ROTC, I was not sure if the military was the right path for me. I wasn’t sure if I liked the field of work or if I was physically and mentally strong enough to be able to do the work. During the second semester of my freshman year, I decided to pledge Pershing Rifles as a member of the 106th pledge class. It stands out in my mind, even after eight years, as one of the best decisions that I have ever made. That decision set me on the path to a rewarding military experience.
Throughout the course of the pledge term, I grew exponentially as a cadet and as a person. I became more physically fit than I ever thought possible. In fact, an APFT that I took during pledge term was the first time that I scored a 300. I still continue to score 300s on the APFT to this day and attribute much of my knowledge on how to best prepare for the physical fitness test to knowledge that I learned during pledge term. I became mentally and emotionally tough. The training was extremely difficult, but it made me see that I possessed the necessary skills to become an Army officer and more importantly, it took those skills and improved upon them. I learned to be disciplined, I learned how to lead, I learned the value of teamwork, and I learned how to get through difficult situations. Additionally, I learned technical and tactical skills that far exceeded my cadet peers who chose not to pledge.
The training that I received did not stop with pledge term. Once you are a member, you are charged with training the next round of pledges. Even as a sophomore member of Pershing Rifles, you are put in leadership positions within the unit and are given responsibilities which again far exceed those of your non-PR peers. This extra experience helped me excel within the Charles River Battalion as well as at Advanced Camp (now LDAC), and I had the honor of being chosen by the ROTC cadre to serve as the cadet Battalion Commander during my senior year at BU. I know that my ability to do well as a cadet was a direct result of my membership in Pershing Rifles.
Once I was commissioned, I continued to see the positive effects of my membership with Pershing Rifles. As a platoon leader in Iraq, the leadership skills as well as the mental toughness that I learned during pledge term manifested themselves in the austere combat environment. At Army Airborne School, the physical and mental toughness that I learned to work through during pledge term helped me to make it through this physically demanding course.
I continue to look to my decision to pledge Pershing Rifles as one that has significantly changed my life. It made me a better cadet and a better officer than I could ever have hoped to be without it. I formed friendships that will last a lifetime. And I continue to see lessons learned during pledge term serve me in each job that I do as an Army Officer.
P/Rs Lead The Way!
Emily M. Hovind
CPT Hovind graduated from Boston University in 2003 and was commissioned as a Military Police Officer in the US Army. In April 2004 she deployed as a platoon leader with the 89th Military Police Brigade to Baghdad, Iraq, where she performed a myriad of missions including working with Iraqi Police Forces, conducting Traffic Control Points (TCPs), and performing VIP escorts. She is currently serving as a Civil Affairs Officer with the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. CPT Hovind’s awards include the Bronze Star Medal, Army Commendation Medal, and the Combat Action Badge.