Monday, December 3, 2012

Military Monday - Gen. John Pershing, A Truman State Grad

I graduated from a small state school in northeast Missouri called Truman State University. When I started college in the fall of 1995 the school, in Kirksville, Missouri, was called Northeast Missouri State University, but the name was changed in 1996 to honor Missouri's only president.
Photo by Derhai, Wikimedia Commons.
I was immediately enthralled by the campus on my first visit and didn't even apply to any other colleges. Thank goodness I was accepted! During my freshman year I was put in Military Science, better known as the class you take when you are in ROTC. I loved it! Our classes were in Pershing Hall, which was the sports facility and also had classroom space. I knew that Black Jack Pershing was from Missouri (Laclede) and I thought the building was named to honor another great Missourian.
However, during a recent trip down memory lane I stumbled across a link on the Truman State University ROTC website that stated that Pershing was a graduate of the school. A little digging and I found that, sure enough, Pershing graduated with a Bachelor of Elementary Didactics degree in June 1880 from the then named First District Normal School. Soon after he attended West Point, graduating in 1882.

Pershing went on to a distinguished military career, serving in many positions to include commanding general of the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I. He was also Army Chief of Staff in the early 1920s and it all started in Missouri.

For more information on Gen. John Pershing visit the following links:

John J. Pershing, Historic Missourians, The State Historical Society of Missouri
General John J. Pershing, American Experience, PBS
The Pershing Museum
John J. Pershing Obituary, The New York Times

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