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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • JROTC students fire cannon at games

  • They already had an air rifle team. But now the Junior ROTC cadets at Leavenworth High School have a cannon crew.


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  • They already had an air rifle team. But now the Junior ROTC cadets at Leavenworth High School have a cannon crew.
    Cadets fire the cannon at home football games when the varsity team scores. It was debuted Friday for the first game played at the new Pioneer Stadium.
    Retired Lt. Col. David Black, senior Army instructor for the JROTC program, said the cannon also will be used for other events including the homecoming and Veterans Day parades.
    “Not many schools have a cannon like that,” he said.
    The cannon, which fires blank cartridges, was acquired after retired 1st Sgt. Wayne Cogdill joined the staff at Leavenworth High School. Cogdill came from a JROTC program in Clinton, Mo., that had a cannon.
    Black said the Leavenworth High School cannon was built by his JROTC counterpart in the Clinton, Mo.
    “It is absolutely safe to operate,” Black said.
    Black said he or Cogdill handle the loading of the ammunition and supervise the firing of the cannon.
    A crew of 15 students serve on the cannon crew.
    “It’s a cannon,” said Emily Beckerjeck, a member of the crew. “Who doesn’t want to shoot a cannon?”
    Crew members wear red T-shirts when operating the cannon at games. Black said red is a color associated with field artillery in the Army.
    He said the cannon helps the morale of Leavenworth football players.
    “We’re kind of putting out a challenge to them,” he said.
    He said the cannon also touches upon on the lineage of Leavenworth High School and its JROTC program, which is the oldest in the nation.
    “It’s a lot more than a piece of metal,” he said.
    Sixty students volunteered to be on the cannon crew.
    Josh Barger, a cadet who made it onto the crew, said students tried out for the duty by doing pushups.
    Members of the crew have to do pushups when they fire the cannon during football games.
    “We do a pushup for every point we have,” cannon crew member Cody Brown said.

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