Pledging Pershing Rifles is not a decision to be taken lightly. It will change your life. It will affect how you identify yourself, the things you do with your time, the Military Officer you are poised to become, and ultimately the adult you forge yourself into. I pledged Pershing Rifles in the fall of 2005. As a curious freshman, I was drawn in by the prospect of being accepted into a tight knit organization based on military values and high level training. A group of hardened individuals that were all best friends and conveniently located at the top of their respective classes; seemed like an organization I wanted to be a part of.

I honestly had no idea what I had gotten into. The physical requirements were hard, expectations were through the roof, time-management was a must, mental and emotional standards were unimaginable. But I was up for the challenge. I wasn’t a quitter. The days were long and the nights were cold, but there I was day after day and night after night. I remembered being told that if I did not give up on myself, then Pershing Rifles would not give up on me. I knew that the battle was between myself and I. If I had quit or chosen not to accept the challenge…I would just be letting myself down. I believed in myself, and, perhaps on that belief alone, I accomplished the goal of becoming a Pershing Rifleman.

More than anything else in pledge term, I learned about myself… I learned what I was capable of, what my ambitions were, and how I wanted to live my life. After pledge term, the growth as a member continued exponentially. Everything I saw or experienced related in some way to pledge term or the experience of being a member. The remarkable experience of pushing yourself to the brink and beyond and remaining in existence is impossible to put into words. You realize a simplicity to life that you never saw before, a basic, primitive nature that most people don’t see. You may try to explain it to them, but without this baseline experience their vision is clouded by “stressful” things like not knowing what to wear that day and being late to class.

Ultimately, pledging Pershing Rifles is an individual decision that has to be made by a person who is willing to commit to him or her self until the mission is complete, whatever the cost. If you are willing to accept the challenge, I encourage you to become a part of the legacy that is Bravo Company, 12th Regiment, National Society of Pershing Rifles. I will look forward to meeting you at the annual Alumni reunion.

A Massachusetts native, CPT Andrew Patterson served as the Commanding Officer of B-12 Pershing Rifles before graduating from Boston University in 2009 with degrees in Economics and International Relations. He was commissioned as a Military Police officer in the US Army. He deployed as a Military Police Platoon Leader with the 4th BDE, 4th Infantry Regiment and attached to the 2-12 Infantry Battalion based in the Kunar Province of Afghanistan, where he was awarded the Bronze Star for actions in combat. Subsequent to his deployment, he cross-commissioned into the U.S. Army Reserve as a Civil Affairs Officer with Special Operations Command Europe and is currently attending a police academy in Massachusetts.