The John J. Pershing Memorial Timeline is housed in the lobby area of the Pershing Military and Naval Science building. The building primarily serves the three ROTC programs (Army, Air Force and Navy, which develops Marine Corps officers) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and also hosts a number of visitors to campus, including international dignitaries, high level military officers, veterans and prospective students.
General Pershing is the only officer to receive the promotion to "General of the Armies" -- the highest rank possible-- while living. George Washington posthumously received the promotion in 1970. As a graduate of UNL's Bachelor of Law program, General Pershing played a major role in all of America's military campaigns between 1886 and 1945. In 1894, he founded the renowned Pershing Rifles, a military drill team organization for college-level students, at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Now recognized as a coed military fraternal organization, the National Society of Pershing Rifles has over 40 units across the United States whose purpose is to develop outstanding traits of leadership, military science and discipline within the framework of a military oriented, honorary fraternity.
Pershing eventually went on to become the Commander in Chief of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I. In 1921 he was appointed as Chief of Staff to the United States Army and in 1932 received the Pulitzer Prize for his memoir entitled "My Experiences in the World War." He created the Pershing Map, a proposed national network of military and civilian highways, and the Interstate Highway System instituted in 1956 bears considerable resemblance to his work.
General Pershing died in 1948 and is known for inspiring millions of Americans to sacrifice for their country through his example of hard work, dedication, courage, and humility.