Kansas State University’s chapter of the National Society of Pershing Rifles is once again being recognized as the best in the nation.
Company G-7, the university’s military drill company, was named the best company in the U.S. for the 2011-2012 academic year by the National Society of Pershing Rifles. The title was given at the society’s annual national convention, called NATCON, on March 18 in Baltimore. It is the second consecutive year Company G-7 has received the honor.
The National Society of Pershing Rifles is an honorary fraternity dedicated to developing more successful officers in the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force. Society members perform precise military drills with non-firing rifles. The K-State chapter is open to all students, although a majority of Company G-7’s 16 current members are affiliated with the university’s Army and Air Force ROTC units.
Along with winning the best company title at the national convention, two Company G-7 cadets won awards. Dylan Wendt, freshman in history, Leavenworth, won the solo exhibition drill competition. Wendt and Robert Samson, sophomore in computer science, Leavenworth, won the duet exhibition drill competition.
“Kansas State University’s Pershing Rifles Company has never settled on being just average — members want to be the best every year,” said Maj. Ryan Hofstra, assistant professor of military science and the adviser to Company G-7. “I admire our cadets and students; winning it once is never enough. Kansas State University is home to what is statistically one of the finest military science departments in the entire nation. This honor is not only for the Pershing Rifles but the entire department and university. It’s a reflection of what Kansas State University cadets and students are capable of accomplishing.”
“I had an opportunity to speak to a couple of the voters and they said K-State was their choice for best company because our members pushed the others schools to work harder,” Hofstra said. “The voters admired the fact that Kansas State University’s Pershing Rifles’ members were ready to accept any challenge.”
In addition to being recognized nationally at the convention, the 16 student cadets in Company G-7 were formally congratulated by K-State President Kirk Schulz on April 20. Schulz met with cadets at the Tags of Honor World War II Memorial by McCain Auditorium, where he also presented his military coins to the cadets, Hofstra and Capt. Adam McKee, assistant professor of aerospace studies and Air Force ROTC adviser.
Company G-7 was also chosen by the Pershing Rifles National Alumni Association to provide honor detail at the NATCON retreat ceremony at Federal Hill Park in Baltimore. The park is a historic lookout point used during the War of 1812. For the ceremony, Company G-7’s honor detail included a garrison-sized 15-star flag representative of the War of 1812 and the Siege of Baltimore in 1814.
Several dignitaries attended the ceremony, including Mahlon Apgar IV, former assistant secretary of the Army for instillations and environment and a distinguished military graduate of Dartmouth College Army ROTC; and Ryan Hada, president of the Federal Hill Neighborhood Association.
“The continued success of our Pershing Rifles students at national competitions serves as a testament to the enduring value of our military programs and students,” said retired Lt. Col. Art DeGroat, the university’s director of military affairs. “These cadets have made a significant contribution to our 149-year tradition of military excellence at Kansas State University.”
Company G-7 returned to K-State in 2010 after a more than 30-year hiatus at the university. In 2011 the company won the platoon exhibition event, were runners-up in the color guard event and had a cadet earn third place in the solo exhibition, as well as winning the best company title.
In addition to Wendt and Samson, cadets in Company G-7 for the 2011-2012 academic year include:
Mark Bohme, junior in mechanical engineering and company executive officer, Atwood; Eric Budy, junior in mechanical engineering, Basehor; Kenyon Fryman, senior in arts and sciences-open option, Garden City; Jillian Emerson, sophomore in chemical engineering and mathematics, Goddard; Kolton Smith, freshman in agribusiness, Holcomb.
From Junction City: Anthony Magallanes, junior in sociology and company commander; Lawrence Moss, junior in psychology and premedicine and company first sergeant; Kiara Ocasio, freshman in electrical engineering; and Amanda Smith, junior in family studies and human services.
Alexis Geidel, sophomore in history, Manhattan; Quincy Whitham, senior in geography, Moscow; Zachary Dodd, sophomore in geology, St. George; Joseph Mollenkamp, senior in economics, Topeka; and Samuel Felts, sophomore in history, Wichita.