BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - LSU's Pershing Rifles received replica uniforms of the LSU Ole War Skule earlier in the school year, but now they have a new honor.
The LSU Company D-17 made up of students both in and out of LSU's ROTC programs have won the "Best Company Award", Number 1 team, during the Pershing Rifles National Convention.
The group bested more than 400 ROTC units from 55 other colleges and universities--a major honor.
Clay LeGrande was with the team in Chantilly, Virginia when they won the award.
"I'm the senior vice commander in chief of the national Military Order of the World Wars," LeGrande explained. "The Pershing Rifles and the National Military Order of the World Wars were both founded by General John J. Pershing."
So they share a common heritage.
LeGrande said he sat at the banquet table with 8 members of the LSU Pershing Rifles team. As the host at the speaker's lectern started ticking off awards, LeGrande looked around and saw Colin Powell sitting at the table next to theirs.
Powell had been a member of a Pershing Rifles team when he was in college. In the mid-1950s, Powell was at the City College of New York. His rifle unit closed shortly after he graduated, but were set to be re-activated at the same banquet, and that's why Powell was even there.
LeGrande said the boys seemed to know who Colin Powell was, even though they were quite young when Powell was in power in Washington DC.
"Actually they did know probably because, I think all of them but one is in the RLOTC program at LSU, and in the ROTC program is where they talk about history and famous military leaders. So most of them understood the significance of having Colin Powell there, " LeGrande said.
LeGrande said the LSU students were elated when the announcement came that they were chosen the number one "Best Company".
LeGrande says Todd Dixon, one of the rifle team's supervisors at LSU, has also been selected to serve as the Regional Pershing Rifles commander covering the universities in Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida and Georgia, an honor for him.
"I have invited Todd to be my guest at the MOWW meeting in April," said LeGrande.
LeGrande says we should be seeing a ton of honor guard teams and others at the upcoming national convention in August because it is here in Baton Rouge this year.
You can bet, the LSU Pershing Rifle team will be the honor guard for the opening ceremony for the national convention.