When I think of Pershing Rifles pledge term I immediately have memories of riding my bike down Bay State Road in the cold night with the freezing wind hitting my face, seeing other people in the comfort of their dorms, and hoping I make it to the pledge activity on time.

You get your cord, go to Airborne School, don’t break your legs, get to be cadet sergeant major, get an ‘E’ at camp, and become battalion commander. A thought like this entered my head riding down Bay State and it all became reality thanks to the advancement Pershing Rifles gave me.

When I think of freshman year of college, I can say with assurance that I was still a child then. I don’t know exactly when the demarcation point came, but it was probably during one of the harsh autumn nights during Pershing Rifles pledge term. Pershing Rifles took my life, turned it into chaos, and forced me to make sense of it again. It taught me regimentation of a convoluted schedule. It taught me the finer points of self-respect and the value of experience. Aside from the fraternal bonds and true lasting friendships Pershing Rifles provides, you grasp a better understanding of yourself. You understand your capabilities, which gives you more confidence, more motivation, and more opportunities for responsibility and leadership.

The night pledge term started my pledge class and I all watched the movie “Fight Club,” which accurately portrayed the feelings I had during pledge term. How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never kept going—even when you wanted to quit? Sometimes you need to submit – “just let go.”

Having gone through pledge term, I was much more emotionally and mentally prepared for the rigors and demands of Ranger School. My classmates showed signs of anger, depression, and exhaustion at being exposed to such a demanding environment. But I had seen the environment before: during P/R pledge term.

Pledge term encompasses some of the profoundest moments in my life and made me feel truly alive during and after.

When I was at BU I tried to stress to cadets three key points of understanding: who you are, what you want to be, and what you’re willing to give up to get there. It’s that third point that distinguishes the Pershing Rifleman: what are you willing to give up to achieve your goals? Most people are too scared and complacent to answer this question and follow through. Truly being a P/R wasn’t about being a PT stud or being the competitive cadet; it’s about taking that third step and knowing what it takes to go further than you have ever gone.

And finally, before I pledged I asked myself, “Am I truly ready to be a platoon leader? What else can I do to make sure I am ready?” I wanted to be as prepared as possible for all possibilities. Avoiding training or passing up an opportunity could prove detrimental. Really, I had to make sure I was ready for when the time comes and the men in my platoon ask me “why?”

Pershing Rifles showed me the way.

A native of Birmingham, Alabama, 1LT Jordan served as the Commanding Officer of B-12 Pershing Rifles before graduating from Boston University in 2007 with a degree in economics. He was commissioned as an Infantry officer in the US Army. He attended BOLC Phases II and III at Fort Benning, Georgia and graduated from US Army Ranger School in September 2008. He is currently deployed with Bravo Company of the 1-6 Infantry Regiment and attached to Task Force 1-35 Armored, based in Baumholder, Germany. He served as a company targeting officer, an armor platoon leader, and is now an infantry platoon leader in charge of the JisrDiyala neighborhood of Baghdad.