Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tarleton Thursdays: Did You Know?

The Wainwright Rifles

A former part of Tarleton's ROTC program, the Wainwright Rifles drill team, was established in 1949, and named for World War II General Mayhew Wainwright who commanded the American troops in the Philippines. Students were required to audition and were voted on by the rest of the members. During their heyday they marched in numerous parades and competitions, including the Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans.

On January 20, 1961 the Wainwright Rifles had the honor of marching in the John F. Kennedy inaugural parade in Washington, D.C.! They were one of six units out of three hundred chosen from Texas to participate, and the only representative from the A & M system! A & M was asked but declined because the Department of Defense would not supply air transportation for the trip, even though they had made plans to raise $6000. to $8000. for other trip expenses. Funds totaling $2000. for the Wainwright Rifles were raised by Tarleton, and by businessmen and residents of the city of Stephenville. Each cadet only had to contribute $10 for the trip!

Shown in the photo above are the Wainwright Rifles assembled in front of their chartered bus in Washington, D.C. ready to march in the parade!

Grassburr, 1961.
J-TAC, January 10, 1961, "Wainwright Rifles to March in D.C. Inaugural Parade".
J-TAC, January 17, 1961, "Pep Rally Slated for Rifles Today".
Tarleton State University, Dick Smith Library, Cross Timbers Historic Images Project, "The Tarleton Military Marching Band", by Frank Chamberlain.

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