P/R Awards & Ribbons

National Commander’s Award

NationalCommandersAwardThe P/R National Commander’s Award is the highest honor given by the National Society of Pershing Rifles. It is awarded to an active Pershing Rifleman who is so outstanding in his/her performance and general way of life that he/she influences the organization’s history for a long period of time, regardless of the number of years of service in Pershing Rifles.

Description: A rectangular silver & blue bar bearing a silver shield charged with the Pershing Rifles symbol between silver letters “P” and “R”.

Worn 1/8” above and centered over the right breast pocket of the male uniform and 1/4” above and centered over the nameplate of the female uniform.

The P/R National Commander’s Award was approved by the P/R National Legislative Assembly on 21 April 1962. The US Army Institute of Heraldry provided official written approval for the wear of this award on 13 February 1963.

Regimental Commander’s Award

RegimentalCommandersAwardThe P/R Regimental Commander’s Award was presented by a regimental commander to a limited number of active Pershing Rifleman which displayed outstanding performance and made significant contributions to Pershing Rifles.

The first mention of Regimental Commander’s Award is on 9 April 1974 when the National Commander requested that the US Army Institute of Heraldry (TIOH) recognize it in the list of approved awards.  TIOH declined to approve this award because it to closely resembled the Czechoslovakian F.I.D.A.C award.  Despite this lack of approval this award was presented for several years to deserving Pershing Riflemen.

Ribbon Order of Precedence

PershingRiflesRibbonChartPershing Rifles Membership Ribbon
Pershing Rifles National Staff Ribbon
Pershing Rifles Regimental Staff Ribbon
Life Saving Award
Gold Achievement Medal Ribbon
Silver Achievement Medal Ribbon
Bronze Achievement Medal Ribbon
Best Regiment Ribbon
Most Improved Regiment Ribbon
Best Company Ribbon
Most Improved Company Ribbon
National Postal Rifle Match First Place Ribbon
National Postal Rifle Match Second Place Ribbon
National Postal Rifle Match Third Place Ribbon
Service Ribbon
John J. Pershing Memorial Drill Meet Participation Ribbon
National Postal Rifle Participation Ribbon
National Postal PT Participation Ribbon
Regiment Best Pledge Ribbon
Company Best Pledge Ribbon

Criteria for Pershing Rifles awards can be found in the PRF-010, the P/R Standard Operating Procedures dated 2007, available on the Pershing Rifles Group website:  http://www.theprgroup.org
Air Force Instruction 36-2903, AFROTC Supplement authorizes the wear of Pershing Rifles awards for Air Force ROTC cadets.

Membership Ribbon

SCAN327The design of the P/R Membership Ribbon is identical to the Army Good Conduct Medal (except it is blue rather than red), which denotes exemplary conduct at all times.  It is worn on the left breast of the uniform.

The current Pershing Rifles Membership Ribbon was created by the US Army Institute of Heraldry in May 1951 to replace a pre-World War II design that was deemed to be too similar to the Italian War Cross.

The US Army Institute of Heraldry provided official written approval for the wear of the Pershing Rifles Membership Ribbon on 14 May 1951.   Air Force Instruction 36-2903, AFROTC Supplement states that the Pershing Rifles Membership Ribbon, “may be worn on the AFROTC cadet uniform in precedence according to AFR OTCI 36-2011 and AFROTCVA 36-3.”

Lifesaving Award

Lifesaving MedalThe P/R Lifesaving Award is presented a Pershing Rifleman who has distinguished himself or herself by saving a human life. An individual is nominated by the P/R unit commander and approval authority for this award is the National Commander.

Description:  A medal consisting of pendant and suspension ribbon. The pendant is a disk surrounded by a laurel wreath 1 1/2″ in height and width with a 3/4″ Pershing Rifles Coat of Arms centered on it. All in a bronze colored metal.  The ribbon is white on which three 1/8″ purple stripes are centered.

The P/R Life Saving Medal was approved by the P/R National Legislative Assembly in November 1964.  The US Army Institute of Heraldry provided official written approval for the wear of this medal on 25 November 1964.

Achievement Medals

SCAN352The P/R Achievement Medals are awarded to outstanding and meritorious Pershing Riflemen.   There are three degrees, Gold, Silver and Bronze. Gold is the highest award, Bronze the lowest.

Although the ribbon has changed over the years, the medal pendant has been in use by the Society since at least the 1930s.

Description:  A medal consisting of pendant and suspension ribbon. The pendant has an octagonal shape on which the helmet, crossed rifles and torch, all elements of the Pershing Rifles Coat of Arms, are placed. The pendant also contains a laurel wreath which signifies achievement, all above a scroll with the organization’s name, “Pershing Rifles”  The finish is of a gold, silver or bronze colored metal depending upon the level.  The ribbon is white on which three 1/8″ blue stripes are centered.  The ribbon bar is the same as the suspension ribbon with a metal “G”, “S” or “B” letter centered on it to represent the gold, silver or bronze level of the award. The color or the letter corresponds with the level of the award.

The US Army Institute of Heraldry provided official written approval for the wear of these medals on 18 October 1951.

Best Regiment Award

BestRegimentRibbon P/R Best Regiment Award Ribbon

The Service Ribbon

Service RibbonThe P/R Service Ribbon denotes the length of service of an active Pershing Rifleman.

Description: A white ribbon with two 1/16″ blue stripes on each end. The ribbon denotes one year of Pershing Rifles membership.  Service discs (round silver pips) are worn on the service ribbon for each year of active Pershing Rifles service completed in excess of the one year of completed service for which the service ribbon is awarded.

The current Pershing Rifles Service Ribbon was created by the US Army Institute of Heraldry in May 1951 to replace a pre-World War II design that was deemed to be too similar to the Italian Medal of Military Merit.

The US Army Institute of Heraldry provided official written approval for the wear of this ribbon on 18 October 1951.

The Pledge Ribbon

The P/R Pledge Ribbon denotes candidate members of Pershing Rifles who are part of a pledging program approved by the National Society of Pershing Rifles.  The Pledge Ribbon is the oldest continuously worn ribbon of our organization.  It was first described in our 1930 Pledge Manual as:

The Pledge Ribbon is blue and white, in two separate pieces, and will be place together by folding the blue ribbon lengthwise and placing it in the center of the white ribbon parallel to the sides.  The two will then be folded together so that both colors may be seen at the crease.  The ribbon will be placed in the notch of the coat lapel so that one quarter of an inch is protruding.

The current  Pledge Ribbon is still half blue and half white.  It is worn on the left breast of the uniform with the white segment to the left.  It serves to remind prospective members of the values portrayed in the colors blue and white.  Blue represents Loyalty, Devotion, Friendship and Truth. White represents Purity, Cleanliness of Life and Rectitude of Conduct.  It also serves as a reminder of the high standards of Pershing Riflemen for which hazing of any type during the pledging process will not tolerated.  Such activity is not representative of the those values instilled by our founder John J. Pershing.

By tradition the P/R Pledge Ribbon is not worn by an active Pershing Rifleman unless the individual has been awarded the Best Pledge Ribbon.

Pershing Medal (University of Nebraska)

BestPershingRiflemanThe Pershing Medal was established in 1910 by General of the Armies John J. Pershing and was presented to the outstanding Pershing Rifleman at the University of Nebraska in the ROTC advanced course on the basis of Soldierly Bearing and General Military Efficiency.  It was first awarded in 1911. The medal was on some occasions personally awarded by General Pershing in the early years as well as by Pershing’s sister May who lived in Lincoln, Nebraska.

After Pershing’s death in 1948, his son Francis Warren Pershing presented the award or it was presented on his behalf by the Professor of Military Science.  This award was made by the Tiffany Company of New York City.

On 19 December 1910, Pershing who was then a Brigadier General serving in Mindanao, Philippines wrote the university chancellor this letter…

To encourage cultivation of those qualities that make for character, I shall offer each year a suitable medal to be awarded to the member of the Pershing Rifles found to be the best all-around soldier-student. The selection for purposes of this award shall be made on the basis of, (1) military standing, to be determined by soldierly bearing, attention to discipline and general military efficiency, and (2) general standing as a university student, each to be given equal weight Any young man selected must be a member of either the senior or, junior class, and shall not be eligible to receive the medal more than once.

It is my desire that the award be made each year by a committee consisting of the dean of the faculty, the commandant of cadets, and a third member, to be chosen by a vote of the active members of the Pershing Rifles. I should also be gratified to see the custom inaugurated of having the chancellor of the university present this medal during commencement.

Very respectfully,
JOHN J. PERSHING.

The central element of the obverse of the medal is the Greek goddess of wisdom Athena wearing a Greek hoplite helmet and a spear in her hand.  At her feet is her serpent, Erichthonius.  Although not the goddess of war Athena is the patron goddess of heroic endeavors.  The helmet that Athena wears on this medal may have inspired the inclusion of a Greek helmet as the crest in the coat of arms adopted by Pershing Rifles in 1932.

This award is still presented annually by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as the General John J. Pershing Award to a cadet who is a member of Pershing Rifles and is in the top 50% of the ROTC and academic class.  The cadet receives a coin and letter. The cadet is chosen by a selection committee with final approval by the Professor of Military Science.

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