BlackJacks to France
Camden Military Academy Cadets in Film Project for the History Channel
Camden Military Academy’s Blackjack Drill team has been invited to participate in a History Channel original presentation celebrating the 100 year anniversary of World War I. On September 14, four members of the academy’s team will travel to Paris, France to take part in the filming of the documentary, The Pershing Project.
The Blackjack Drill Team is the high school auxiliary of the Pershing Rifles. The Pershing rifles are named after General John J Pershing. General Pershing is one of only two men to ever be named General of the Armies; the other was President George Washington. General Pershing has an illustrious history including the battle of San Juan Hill as well as leading the Western Front during WWI. During, WWI, General Pershing was adamant that US soldiers should not serve under allied command. He is one America’s most illustrious heroes and honored officer. The general is buried in Arlington cemetery in Washington DC.
Camden Military’s drill team began 3 years ago at the urging of Mr. Art Dumont. Mr. Dumont served as a member of the Pershing Rifle team at N.C. State University after his graduation from Carlisle Military, a sister school of Camden Military Academy. Mr. Dumont states,” after years of dormancy there were calls to awaken Pershing Rifle teams in high schools and colleges.” Mr. Dumont answered the call by establishing the Blackjacks at Camden Military Academy.
The CMA team competes each year in NATCON, the annual national convention and competition of the Pershing Rifles. The team consistently proves to be one of the most elite in the country even capturing a national championship two years ago while going head-to-head against colleges and universities from around the country. The unit also sends a team each year to the grave of General Pershing. CMA was the first unit to do so. All of this captured the attention of Ms. Sandra Pershing, the General’s granddaughter in-law who contacted the unit to see if they would be interested in participating in the film project.
The cadets that are participating from Camden are: John Branch, Kevin Phillips, Brandon Vancosky and Jacob Edwards. These young men are ecstatic for the opportunity to honor General Pershing and be invited to be a part of this historic celebration and project. Cadet Edwards states, “I am excited for the opportunity and experience to participate in a project like this. It makes history come alive.” Cadet Branch, a sophomore at CMA, is slated to re-visit Paris in 2018 to participate in an eighteen nation contingency celebrating the 100 year anniversary of WWI by marching through the streets of Paris with Pershing Rifle teams and other Camden Military Blackjack cadets. Cadet Branch states, “this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to actually be a part of history. I am appreciative to Mr. Dumont and CMA for this opportunity.”
The cadets will wrap up filming on the project on September 26 and return to Camden to share their experiences!
Back Row (left to right): Cadet Phillips, Cadet Vancosky, Cadet Edwards
Front Row: Cadet Branch