The first national fraternity recognized on the University of Dayton's campus was the Pershing Rifles. Their origin dates back to the honorary military society of Dickman Rifles which was formed in February 1931. The unit was named in honor of Major General Joseph T. Dickman, Class of 1871, one of UD's most illustrious military alumnus. The purpose of the "Rifles" was to recognize those basic course cadets who attained a high degree of military ability and who displayed a keen interest in military science courses. In May of 1931, the Dickman Rifles were invited to a Pershing Rifles drill competition hosted by Ohio State University. Their introduction and exposure to the National Society of Pershing Rifles lead to a petition from the members of the Dickman Rifles to join the National Society. They received their charter on 12 February 1932 as Company E, First Regiment of the Pershing Rifles.
The Pershing Rifles had its origin in 1894, when future General John J. "Black Jack" Pershing, then a Second Lieutenant in charge of military instruction at the University of Nebraska, started a "Varsity Rifles" drill team. A year later, the unit was recognized as a fraternity and took on the formal name of "Pershing Rifles" in honor of their founder and mentor, 2LT Pershing. Throughout its history, UD's Pershing Rifles have been the mainstay for the University's Military Color Guard at sporting events and special ceremonies, hosting and competing in statewide and national drill competitions, and have been the driving force behind most of the Cadet Corps' social functions. After a brief period of inactivation during World War II, the "PR's" were re-chartered as Company B, First Regiment and continue on in the proud traditions and heritage. The Pershing Rifleman takes the initiative and with foresight, accomplishes what has to be done. A Pershing Rifleman cannot be clearly described, for they are a special breed... for they are "a cut above the rest!"