KSLA Salutes: Grambling, Southern University ROTC prepare for annual football carry ahead of Bayou Classic
SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - On Nov. 27, the Southern University and A&M College Army, Navy, and Grambling State University ROTC departments will carry the 48th annual Bayou Classic game day football 90 miles to the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans, LA.
The eight-hour group run from Baton Rouge is a long-standing tradition that began in 1992 by army cadets and midshipmen from Southern University.
“The football carry signifies esprit de corps or a feeling of pride, comradery, and physical fitness ability of the ROTC cadets and midshipmen, as they prepare to become commissioned officers in the United States army and navy,” said Lt. Col. David Marshall Jr. “The event has sort of died and come back to life over the years. Since I am a graduate of Southern University, I graduated from Army ROTC in 2001, I figured it was a definite need to start it back up again once I became the PMS here back in 2019. As a cadet I did this run several times and it just really bonds the cadets together. It brings more esprit de corps and comradery, things we look for in ROTC officers.”
Earlier this year, when the Bayou Classic was held in Shreveport, Grambling’s ROTC program was invited to join the football carry. The group did a joint run, traveling around 70 miles from Grambling University to Independence Stadium in the freezing rain.
“We started about 4:30 in the morning and took Highway 80.” Mason Moore, professor of Military Science at Grambling State University, said. “It started out nice and then the rain came down on us. It was quite the challenge for the cadets, but as we say in the Army, if it ain’t raining, we ain’t training. There isn’t a rivalry between our ROTC programs. We do field exercises a couple times a year together and are very familiar with each other. Colonel Marshall and I have a great relationship and it’s a great thing, but once the game starts, the lines are drawn.”
The run commences at 5 a.m. from the Southern University F.G Clark Activity Center, and will travel through seven parishes: East Baton Rouge, Ascension, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Charles, Jefferson and Orleans. Local parish sheriffs and state police will escort cadets and midshipmen into New Orleans around 1 p.m.
The Bayou Classic returns to New Orleans this Saturday. Kick off is set for 4 p.m. and Battle of the Bands is Friday night at 7 p.m.
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