Members of the 1968-72 Pershing Rifles group — a fraternity within ROTC — were sitting among the tables at the Special Interest Group Zone in the Central Mall Saturday, June 10, during Reunion Weekend.
Past Pershing Rifles member Felix Ferrise ’72 organized the get-together by searching through yearbook photos, alumni resources and a giant paddle with the names of the members to create a list of contacts to invite. He hoped that Reunion Weekend would be the best time for his class to celebrate its 45th anniversary this year.
A Fourth of July celebration in 1976 was the last time many of the brothers remembered seeing each other.
The men brought pictures to share and plenty of memories to discuss from talking about the drill team they had in the early 1970s to the success that came with competing. Laughs were exchanged over pranks once pulled and the haircuts they gave themselves.
Ferrise noted that the discipline learned through practicing drill seven days a week was a skill that the brothers couldn’t have picked up through any other activity. A younger member of the Pershing Rifles, also at Reunion Weekend, agreed.
“That mental toughness you get out of it, it doesn’t matter what comes next,” said Jay Ross ’02. “You can do anything.”
Through it all, the men said what they remembered most was the brotherhood that was formed in the Pershing Rifles during their time at UD.
“I was in the hospital for a knee operation at Fort Ord, California, and this guy here shows up out of the blue,” Tobin said of Jay Bice ’72. “He somehow broke me out and we went sightseeing around the Monterey Peninsula.”
Paul Dvorksy ’72 said he got out of the hospital just yesterday, and his brothers were nothing but supportive.
“We still take care of each other,” Dvorksy said.