Gen. John J. "Black Jack" Pershing
General John Pershing was one of the greatest military commanders and leaders of the last century. His dedication to his men, his job, his loyalty to country and his sense of honor created one of the best leaders our country has ever seen.
John J. Pershing was born on 13 Sept. 1860, to the son of a railroad section boss in Laclede, Linn County Missouri. He was born to a family of Alsatian origins, originally spelling their name "Pfirsching". At 17, Pershing begins teaching at a Negro school in Laclede, to help the family finances which were still reeling from the depression of 1873.
In 1879 Pershing moves to Prairie Mound school district 10 miles away to teach in a more prestigious school. In 1881, Pershing finishes first out of sixteen applicants in a competitive examination for an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point.
After attending a tutoring academy run by former Confederate officer Colonel Caleb Huse for six months, Pershing enters the USMA. In June of 1886 Pershing graduates as First Captain ranking 30th in his class of 77. Although not an especially outstanding student he was noted early on by officers for his leadership qualities. He was elected president of the class of 1886, and each year held the highest rank in the Cadet Battalion. Pershing commanded the Corps of Cadets when it crossed the Hudson from West Point to Garrison to stand and present arms while the funeral train of Ulysses S. Grant passed by. It was at West Point that he receives his nickname "Black Jack".
In September 1886, 2nd Lt. Pershing reports for duty with 6th Cavalry at Fort Bayard, New Mexico. He also participated in the tragic Wounded Knee campaign. Pershing is...