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Signal Cannon Presented to Yellow Jackets

Al Orgain '61 Presents Signal Cannon to R-MA Yellow Jackets

This past Homecoming, the points scored by the Yellow Jackets’ varsity football team against Massanutten had a little extra "sting," as a signal cannon went off with every touchdown or field goal. The small but powerfully loud cannon was brought to campus by Albert Orgain IV, a 1961 graduate of Randolph-Macon Academy. On April 12, 2013, Orgain donated a new signal cannon to the Academy during the Friday afternoon retreat ceremony.

In his presentation speech, Orgain recalled the 2012 Homecoming game and the dominating win by the Yellow Jackets of 48-34. “The president of Massanutten—I knew him from VMI, as I found out—was in the end zone as I was firing many, many times. He was not amused,” Orgain said, causing more than a few chuckles.  

“It was a joyous day and a sweet victory and a memorable day,” Orgain continued.” And memories are what you are making here at R-MA. Lessons for living. Accomplishments of a young lifetime. Learning what to do, learning what not to do. Learning what works, and what doesn’t. You are making friends right now for a lifetime.” Indicating the cannon, he called it a “small gift” and explained his purpose in donating it. “I hope it will come to punctuate those memories, emphasize those victories and echo across this campus and in the process inspire you and all your R-MA friends.” He paused slightly, then added, “Too bad about the opponents.”

In addition to the cannon itself, Orgain donated the funds for what he called “ten winning seasons of cannon fire.”  Although former R-MA president Col Arvin Williams had passed away just two days before, and current R-MA Maj Gen Henry M. “Mack” Hobgood is retiring this year, Orgain refrained from dictating a name for the cannon. While he suggested both “Arvin” and “Mack” as appropriate names, he left it for the students to decide. 

As the finale of the ceremony, Cadet Corps Commander Killian Hopcroft ’13 and Orgain fired the cannon, the noise of which surprised most of the students gathered for formation.
The cannon will reside within the Air Force JROTC department, until needed for the fall football games. Perhaps it will once again spur the Jackets onto victory!


Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA), founded in 1892, is a college-preparatory, coeducational day and boarding school for students in grades 6 through 12.  Students in grades 9-12 participate in R-MA’s 91st Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) and have the option to participate in a unique flight program. R-MA is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and is located in Front Royal, VA.