By PAMELA SMITH
Name the cannon.
At the first BYU home football game, Sept. 6 against Washington, the BYU Army ROTC cadettes stood by a cannon in the northeast corridor of the field. BYU’s Army ROTC program and the Alumni Association are sponsoring a contest in which students are invited to “Name the Cannon.”
“Whoever comes up with the best name will win four ski passes to Sundance a six-month membership at Gold’s gym, dinner for two at Thanksgiving Point and two front row tickets to the BYU vs. USU football game,” said Bill Boucher, assistant professor of military science.”We’re really excited about getting the students fired up.”
Students need to submit their entry forms to the Daily Universe office at 2150 ELWC, no later than 4:00 p.m. Sept. 26 for their chance to win.
The winner will be announced at the Oct. 3 football game against Utah State. He/she will also get to fire the cannon they name.
“This way some BYU student will be leaving their mark forever,” Boucher said.
“The Alumni Association is pleased to be involved with the Army ROTC in the beginning of a new tradition in Cougar Football,” said Tom Gorley, managing director of alumni relations.
Brent Romney, Regional Chapter Chair of the Dallas/Ft. Worth Alumni Association was the honored alumni who first fired the cannon at last week’s game.
“The Alumni Association and the Army ROTC should be commended for their wonderful idea of celebrating the start of a game and each cougar score with the roar of a cannon,” Romney said.
Romney was asked to represent all the chapter chairs by George Bowie, Assistant Advancement Vice President and Executive Director of the Alumni Association. A committee has been set up to choose alumni throughout the country to fire the cannon in the remaining five home games.
The BYU Army cadettes will be doing push-ups for every point scored in the games.
“The cadettes will do seven push-ups for a touchdown, 3 push-ups for a field goal and 10 push-ups for both. Let’s pray they don’t run the score board up too high,” Boucher said.
“Bringing in the cannon was an idea to get the Army ROTC more involved on campus and in the community. We’re really service-oriented, but most people on campus just look at our uniforms and think that’s what we’re all about. That annoys us,” Boucher said.
Introducing the cannon to the home football games is a way for BYU’s Army ROTC to become more well-known with the students.
The Army ROTC acquired the cannon last year from Kansas University, who was looking to get rid of it.
Boucher said, “We heard Pittsburg State, also in Kansas, wanted it too, but they hadn’t submitted the paperwork yet. So we faxed Kansas University and basically stole it from Pittsburg State.”
Boucher flew to Kansas City last November to drive the cannon home to Utah. “I rented a cargo van that had two seats in it and nothing else. The cannon was so big I had the muzzle right up by my head,” Boucher said.
“While I was driving home to Utah, I was pulled over by a police officer for speeding. I was driving on some country road and the speed limit sign was cleverly hidden in the bushes. The cop asked where I was going, so I told him I was driving a cannon home to Utah. The cop then said, “I got to see this,” Boucher said.
“It was kind of hard for him to charge me with a concealed weapons charge with the muzzle right in my face, so he let me go,” Boucher said.
Since then BYU has been very strict in making sure the cannon meets safety requirements.
“The first test firing was Last March a the Blue/White game. We had the University Police, Fire Marshall and Risk Management and Safety experts all standing by, just in case,” Boucher said.
The Army ROTC has to have a memorandum stating who will be firing it, when and how before they get final approval from the university.
Boucher said, “The response we’ve gotten so far has been really positive. Last week at the Washington game, we had kids and even the team coming down during half-time to see what had made that loud noise.”
The 14 foot 75 millimeter Pack Howitzer cannon was built in 1942 at Rock Canyon Arsenal in Illinois. It only has a 4-digit serial number, so it was one of the first cannons off the line. It was used during World War II in the mountains of Germany and Italy because it was fairly light and could be broken down and assembled in a matter of minutes. It still has all of its original parts.
Since then the cannon has been used by the Utah National Guard as a salute cannon in special military events and engagements.