In a single day, thousands of University students will step foot on the Parade Ground. From lively tailgating to quiet study sessions, people often forget the Parade Ground is one of many memorials on campus that once served as a military training ground for LSU, a school steeped in tradition.
To honor the University’s rich military history, Student Government is holding Old War Skule Week, a series of events to honor and recognize LSU veterans leading up to LSU Salutes on Friday.
The first official function of LSU Salutes is a luncheon recognizing POWs and those missing in action during World War II as well as eight female veterans from the war.
“It is important to ensure past, present and future students know our military history,” said Executive Director of the Cadets of the Old War Skule Randy Gurie.
In the spirit of the rivalry between LSU and Texas A&M football teams, cadets from Texas A&M will compete with LSU cadets in Corps Wars — physical and tactical military contests that range from tug-of-war to gun accuracy competitions — before Saturday’s football game.
“This is a revival of tradition and competition,” Gurie said. SG started the competition today with a push-up competition between the two branches of ROTC judged by UREC referees.
A series of events will be held, including a rifle demonstration on Wednesday and a campus-wide camo day Thursday.
This is the first year of Old War Skule Week, but SG Chief of Staff Joe Gipson said he wants to see the campaign have the same lasting effect as LSU Salutes, which started in the ’90s.
“This is an awareness campaign bringing attention to military history at LSU,” Gipson said. “This is about recognizing that pride and opening up a dialogue.”
Military has been a long part of the historical dialogue of the University, as LSU was founded as a military academy and the University is nicknamed “The Old War Skule.”
“How we got the nickname ‘Old War Skule’ has never been verified, but it was given by Col. William Tecumseh Sherman, the first president of LSU,” Gurie said.
The University has been the site of captures of military officials and battles during the Civil War.
Memorial Tower, built in 1929 by the American Legion, was given to the University as a memorial for the Louisiana residents who served in World War I, Gurie said. Like the Parade Ground, this University icon is one most students see daily, but they may not realize is part of the school’s military roots.
The Cadets of the Old War Skule is one group seeking to preserve this history and honor those who have served and dedicated their lives to the University and the country.
It started as an alumni military organization in the 1950s, in which faculty and administrators would seek guidance and advice, Gurie said.
The group’s founding goal was to ensure future generations of LSU cadets would remember the University’s military heritage and traditions, according to its website.
“This organization acknowledges the lineage from LSU’s first campus in Pineville as a military school,” Gurie said.