Answered By: Marie Rose
Last Updated: Nov 17, 2015     Views: 54

In the 1956-1957 football season, the tradition of firing a cannon when The Citadel makes a touchdown began. In April 1957, Clarence Criswell, Class of 1957, and his brother LT Grover Criswell, Class of 1955, presented the cannon to General Mark Clark and The Citadel. The original touchdown cannon was a bronze Lyle gun, over a century old. It was cast in the late nineteenth century and was "used by the Coast Guard to throw lines to ships in distress." It was originally mounted on a naval carriage. In 1961 Cadet Janson Cox, Class of 1963, "replaced the naval carriage with the current field gun carriage that he designed and built in the museum workshop." The touchdown cannon leads the march of cadets to the stadium before each home football game. The cannon was named "Boomer" after a 1980 contest among cadets. The name contains the letters "BOO," in honor of Col. Thomas N. Courvoisie, whose nickname was "The Boo." "The original extra point gun was a model 1898 Winchester cannon firing 10-gauge shotgun shells." (Source: Major Steven Smith, Tactical Officer, "Touchdown Cannons Help The Citadel Retain a Football Tradition," Brigadier, November 9, 2001, p. 3)

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