COLUMBIA, S.C. – On Friday, Oct. 27, Gen. John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing will speak about his experiences in the First World War at the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum.
Or at least, a remarkable facsimile will.
Dane Coffman, a World War I enthusiast who bears a striking resemblance to his subject, will appear in full uniform at the museum to portray the general during the period in which he led the American Expeditionary Force to victory in Europe.
Mr. Coffman will speak, from the general’s point of view, about the challenge Pershing faced of taking green troops – the U.S. Army grew in 18 months from 126,000 officers and men to 4 million – and leading them in helping defeat the Central Powers.
A grandfather of five and retired employee of Delta Air Lines, Mr. Coffman has appeared as Pershing at the dedication of the National World War One Museum in Kansas City, Mo., and in the 2012 Presidential Inaugural Parade in Washington, as well as having attended numerous symposiums and museums in character.
Gen. Pershing, who was born in 1860 and died in 1948, was the only American to be promoted in his own lifetime to General of the Armies rank, the highest possible rank in the United States Army.
The presentation, part of the museum’s Lunch and Learn series, begins at noon, is open to the public and is free of charge.
About the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum
Founded in 1896, the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum is an accredited museum focusing on South Carolina’s distinguished martial tradition through the Revolutionary War, Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the War on Terror, and other American conflicts. It serves as the state’s military history museum by collecting, preserving, and exhibiting South Carolina’s military heritage from the colonial era to the present, and by providing superior educational experiences and programming. It is located at 301 Gervais St. in Columbia, sharing the Columbia Mills building with the State Museum. For more information, go to https://crr.sc.gov/.