ROTC fires last Cougar Cannon

Madison Callan | Evergreen reporter

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Cougar football is full of traditions, many of which come from a variety of student organizations.

For the WSU Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), that tradition was firing off the Cougar Cannon with each touchdown during home games.

“Everyone knows the cannon,” Nehemiah Daehn, senior history major and Army ROTC cadet said.

In years past, ROTC cadets who are also members of the National Guard had the opportunity to receive training on the cannon and then fire it off during the football games.

“It was a unique part of Cougar football that ROTC got to contribute,” Emmett Bowman, senior history and political science major and Army ROTC cadet said.

Austin Bogard, senior criminal justice major and Army ROTC cadet, is the former Cougar Cannon Commander and helped fire the cannon for three years.

This year, the National Guard took full control of operating the cannon.

Bogard said the future of operating the Cougar Cannon was up in the air at the end of last year, and when he returned to school this fall, the decision had been made final.

“Its always been a National Guard event, but ROTC put their foot in the door and said they wanted to do it,” Daehn said. “It’s our way to give back to the school.”

Various reasons surrounded the change in command for the cannon, including safety issues with the cadets operating it, and problems regarding obtaining ammunition.

“When you have a piece of equipment you can request ammunition for it. With it belonging to the National Guard, they have the ability to request ammunition for that equipment,” Master Sgt. and Senior Military Instructor Robert Baca said. “That’s kind of the big push to do away with the weapons program.”

Baca said for this year alone they were only able to acquire 20 rounds of ammunition.

Last Saturday’s game alone would have used up almost all that ammunition, Bogard said.

Baca said the cannon itself is not very large, only about 10 feet long, hilt to barrel.

“It makes a big sound, and that’s the important part,” Daehn said.

Another downside to losing the cannon is that it was a good recruitment tool for cadets, Baca said.

“The minute I saw that team I was like ‘wow how can I do that,’” Bogard said.

The cannon will still continue to be fired at Cougar football games behind the stadium, near Mooberry track by WSU students who are members of the National Guard.

“It’s still here, it’s just not going to be with the cadets anymore,” Bogard said.