JOHNSON CITY, TN – Less than a year after graduating from Ashe County High School, a local man has found success on the big stage.
Matthew Carson, 18, recently took first place in the Individual Rifleman Exhibition at the National Convention of Pershing Rifles in Washington, D.C.
The March 10-13 event included cadets and teams from more than 20 Reserve Officer Training Corp squads from universities around the country. Carson is the son of Doug Carson and Angie Miller. He’s a member of East Tennessee State University’s ROTC program.
“I am so happy to see Matt’s hard work and dedication be recognized on a national level,” Miller said. “He practices for countless hours and is constantly critiquing himself to find ways to improve. He wants to be the best and we are so proud of him.”
According to a press release issued by ETSU, last spring, the first time the university’s ROTC program was eligible to compete in the National Society of Pershing Rifles, the school’s cadets took part in three events, taking home a first place and two second place awards.
This year, the Johnson City-based team expanded its areas of competition, as the team’s 14 cadets placed first in Squad Regulation Drill and second in Color Guard, Platoon Exhibition and Platoon Regulation.
The ETSU team, designated as Battery 6, along with two other schools in their battery, form a regiment that was named Most Improved Regiment.
During the rest of the year, the team is involved in the community, presenting the nation’s colors about 50 times in the past year at ETSU men’s and women’s basketball and football games, as well as military affiliated events.
In addition, five cadets recently competed for the German Armed Forces Badge for Military Proficiency at Indiana University.
Given by the Bundeswahr, the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Germany, the badge is one of the few foreign awards that can be worn on a U.S. Army uniform.
In the rigorous three-day competition, participants who fail in any individual event cannot continue to the next one. Included were a fitness test with many components, a 200-meter swim in uniform, a lifesaving exam, nuclear/chemical/biological protective measures and pistol marksmanship. The final event of the competition was a march of up to 12k, with participants carrying 33 pounds of extra weight.
For further information, contact the ETSU Department of Military Science at 423-439-4269.