Skip to Main Content

Elite Pershing Rifle Squad to Celebrate 50th Reunion

Air Force Brigadier General Among UMass Lowell Graduates to Speak


Contacts for media: Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944 or and Christine Gillette, 978-934-2209 or

* M E D I A   A D V I S O R Y *

Saturday, June 28
6 p.m.

WHAT:  U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Gary Connor (ret.), a UMass Lowell graduate, will be the keynote speaker as more than 75 members of Squadron N-12 of the National Society of Pershing Rifles come together to celebrate their 50th reunion with a military ball.

The Pershing Rifles squad was an elite drill team based at Lowell Technological Institute – one of UMass Lowell’s predecessor institutions – from 1962 to 1974. Pershing riflemen were Air Force ROTC members, many of whom served during the Vietnam and Cold War eras.

Connor served in the Air Force for more than 31 years in weapon systems acquisition and program management. His experience spans fighters, missile defense, command and control and intelligence systems used by U.S., NATO and allied forces. A member of the Pershing Rifle’s pledge class of 1974, he was commissioned as an officer in 1978, the same year he received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. He continued his education at UMass Lowell and received a master’s degree in computer engineering in 1980.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Gen. “Blackjack” Pershing Fund which supports UMass Lowell student-veterans. Cameron Gingras of Worcester, a special-ops Marine who graduated in May with a degree in mechanical engineering, will talk about how the fund has helped him and his family.

More than 1,400 student-veterans attend UMass Lowell, which is ranked among the most military-friendly schools in the nation by G.I. Jobs magazine. The university is home to award-winning ROTC units, an active student-veterans’ organization and an Office of Veterans’ Services, which serves this population’s specific needs.

Student-veterans wear the blue-and-white cord of the Pershings on the right shoulder of their graduation gown as a mark of the esprit de corps that characterized the group.

WHERE: UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center, 50 Warren St., Lowell. For directions and parking information, contact UMass Lowell media relations.