The Boom of Doom


Photo Courtesy/ Doug Carthel and Family

Jasmine Baker, Staff Reporter

Editor’s Note: In this story, it originally stated that Doug Carthel is “certified by the Antiques & Collectibles National Association (ACNA) to operate the 1857 Napoleon gun.” It has been brought to our attention, however, by the Antiques & Collectible National Association, that they “do not certify anyone to operate any kind of firearm, weapon or explosive device,” and therefore that statement was incorrect. For that reason, that statement has been removed from this feature.

When Colby Carthel was named Head Coach of the football team at Texas A&M University-Commerce in 2013, he brought a new tradition with him besides winning: a cannon. Carthel’s uncle, Doug Carthel, owns a cannon and brings it to every home game from Northern Oklahoma.

In the 1970s, Doug toured Civil War battlefields and made a hobby out of cannons.

“It’s an exact half scale replica 1857 Napoleon gun from the Civil War,” Carthel said. “It shoots a 6 pound ball and weighs 4,500 pounds but for games it shoots blank charges. The players and fans just love the cannon and what it adds to the games.”

Senior offensive lineman Jason Osei said in approval of the cannon, “It’s definitely good for creating a good game atmosphere.”

The Carthels often shot them during family gatherings like the Fourth of July when Coach Colby Carthel was a child. He eventually asked his uncle to bring the cannon to the games. Schools like Texas A&M University, United States Naval Academy and the United States Military Academy are just a few of the teams who have a tradition of firing cannons at their games. The cannon is stored in Commerce during the season, and Carthel arrives an hour before the game to set up the cannon, it usually takes 30 minutes.

The Model 1857 12-Pounder Napoleon Field Gun, officially called the “light 12-pounder gun” by the United States Army, was the most popular smoothbore cannon used during the American Civil War. The cannon was named after French president and emperor, Napoleon III, nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte.