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Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets

The Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets (often The Fightin' Texas Aggie Corps of Cadets, The Corps of Cadets, or simply The Corps) is a student military organization at Texas A&M University. Approximately 42 percent of the members of the Cadet Corps receive classroom training and receive a commission in the United States Armed Forces upon graduation. Under federal law, Texas A&M University, along with five other U.S. colleges, is classified as a senior military college. As such, Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) courses and training are mandatory for the first two years as a cadet, but are optional for junior and senior year cadets. Juniors and seniors who do not have military contracts to receive commissions, but who wish to remain members of the Cadet Corps, are classified as "Drill & Ceremonies" (D&C) cadets.

Students who do not elect participation in the Corps of Cadets are excused by the Administration and the Commandant. Except for the service academies, the Corps, in conjunction with its ROTC affiliates and the Department of Military Science at Texas A&M University, produces more military officers than any other school in the United States.

History

The Corps of Cadets was founded in 1876 with the creation of The Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, which was established as an all-male military college. Texas A&M remained a primarily all-male military institution with mandatory membership in the Cadet Corps until 1963, when Corps membership became voluntary and the school also began admitting women.

Members of the Cadet Corps have served in every conflict fought by the United States since the Spanish-American War. During World War II, Texas A&M produced 20,229 Aggies who served in combat. Of those, 14,123 were commissioned as officers, more than the combined total of the United States Naval Academy and the United States Military Academy during the same timeframe. Over 225 Aggies have served as Generals or Flag Officers, while seven former students have been awarded the highest United States military award, the Medal of Honor:

Horace S. Carswell, Jr., class of 1938
Thomas W. Fowler, class of 1943
William G. Harrell, class of 1943
Lloyd H. Hughes, class of 1943
George D. Keathley, class of 1937
Turney W. Leonard, class of 1942
Eli L. Whiteley, class of 1941.

Early years

For the school's first thirty-one years, through the 1907–08 academic year, the Cadet Corps was organized into one battalion consisting of two to four companies, designated companies "A", "B", "C", and "D". Early on, these were designated "Infantry" companies, but the Commandant ensured that Artillery training was included in the military instruction. The Aggie Band was organized in 1894 as a permanent institution within the Corps. In 1908, with enrollment over 570, a second battalion was added. As enrollment climbed, the Cadet Corps continued to grow to multiple battalions, each with two to four companies, and the Corps became divided into multiple regiments.

The academic year 1916–17 saw the division of the Corps into two regiments. The following year, the two regiments had a total of six battalions composed of eighteen companies and a battery of field artillery. In 1918, enrollment surged to 1,284, almost a fifty percent increase over the previous year. In the 1919–20 school year, a Signal Corps battalion and a Mounted Cavalry battalion (later called a "cavalry squadron") with one cavalry troop were added. An Air Service squadron with one company-sized "flight" was added in the 1920–21 school year.

In the fall of 1923, the Cadet Corps, with a total of 2,091 cadets in twenty-three individual units, became divided between the Infantry Regiment and the Composite Regiment. The Composite Regiment included the Cavalry, Field Artillery, Air Service and Signal Corps units. The Air Corps Squadron (formerly Air Service Squadron) was phased out at the end of the 1927–28 school year. In the fall of 1928, with enrollment at 2,770 cadets, an Engineer Battalion was added, and the following year a third regiment was formed out of the expanded Field Artillery Battalion. A fourth battalion, the Coast Artillery, was added to the Composite Regiment in the fall of 1933.

The Cadet Corps enrollment hit a peak of 2,770 in 1928, but the Great Depression took its toll, and by the fall of 1932 enrollment had fallen to 2,001. But as the Depression waned and the U.S. involvement in the war became imminent, enrollment climbed back to a pre-War total of over 6,500 in the fall of 1941. In 1935, swelling enrollment forced the formation of an Engineer Regiment and a Cavalry Regiment. With these two new regiments, added to the Infantry, Field Artillery and Composite regiments, the Cadet Corps, for the first time in its history, now had a total of 5 regiments, encompassing thirty-two individual units (companies, batteries and troops). That same year, a Chemical Warfare Service Company was added to the Composite Regiment, and the following year a second company warranted the formation of a Chemical Warfare Service Battalion. A sixth regiment, the Coast Artillery Regiment, was added in 1937. In 1939, the Band had grown to the point that it was now divided into two units, the Infantry and Artillery Bands.

In the fall of 1942, as citizens of Texas responded to America's need for military officers, the number of individual military units in the Cadet Corps hit an all-time high with a total of seven regiments of seventeen battalions comprising sixty companies, batteries, and troops, including the Band. The Cadet Corps at Texas A&M sent over 20,229 former cadets into World War II, 14,223 of them as commissioned officers, more than the combined totals of both military academies. By February 1943 enrollment dropped to less than 4,000 as Cadets left school to serve in the U.S. military. The 1944–45 school year saw enrollment drop to as low as 1,600 and the depletion of cadets forced the reorganization of the Corps down to only two regiments (Infantry and Composite) consisting of a total of only 17 companies, batteries and troops, including the two Band units. In 1943, the U.S. Army declared the Mounted Cavalry obsolete, although Cavalry units continued at Texas A&M as mechanized units until the end of the 1949–50 academic year.

Post-World War II

World War II and the demands of the U.S. military took their toll on enrollment. But, with the end of the War, as enrollment surged in the fall of 1946, Texas A&M gained the use of Bryan Air Force Base, which was being closed, and converted a number of its buildings into dormitories. In 1947, all entering freshmen, approximately 1,500, were assigned to the Bryan Air Force Base "Annex" which became essentially a freshman campus. The Cadet Corps reorganized again to accommodate these unusual conditions.

The 1947–48 Cadet Corps consisted of five regiments, a Headquarters Group, and the Band during that academic year. The five regiments (a combined Infantry and Veterans regiment, an Artillery regiment, a combined Air Force and Cavalry regiment, a combined Engineer and Composite regiment, and the "Training Regiment" consisting of nine companies of freshmen), the Headquarters Group and the Band were composed of a total of 35 individual military units.

The 1951–52 academic year saw the organization of the Cadet Corps at is largest in terms of number of individual units. Sixty-six units (companies, batteries and squadrons) were divided among 8 regiments (Infantry, Artillery, Armor/Engineers, First Air Force Wing, 2nd Air Force Wing, Composite Regiment, Seventh Regiment and the Eighth Freshman Training Regiment) consisting of 21 battalions and the Band.

During this post-war era and into the 1950s, the various units of the Corps continued to be identified by their military branch. The traditional branches (Infantry, Field Artillery, Cavalry, Engineers, Coast Artillery, Quartermaster, Ordnance, Signal Corps, Armor, Chemical Corps, Transportation, Army Security, and Army Air Force) continued to be represented. But the strength of air power and the rise of the importance of the U.S. Air Force during this era was evident in the organization of the Cadet Corps as Army Air Corps units became Air Force flights (later squadrons). Veterans companies and flights were formed to separate these older veterans from younger cadets. Beginning in 1948 athletes were organized into their own batteries (later companies) to accommodate special team practice schedules.

That same year, 1948, the Freshman Regiment added a Band Company and four Air Force flights for a total of 12 units. The Eighth Freshman Training Regiment was moved to the main campus in the Fall of 1950, and by 1951, it consisted of a total of 15 freshman companies, batteries and squadrons, each with a branch designation, attached to which was a Senior Battalion of four companies of cadet Seniors. During the 1953–54 school year, over one-third of the 57 Corps units, a total of 21, consisted of Freshmen. The following year, freshmen were incorporated back into the other Corps units.

The 1954–55 school year, saw the Cadet Corps begin to take on the organization (two Army regiments and two Air Force wings, and the Band) that is familiar to most former cadets today. The Band, which in 1939 had divided itself into an Infantry company and an Artillery Battery (Field Artillery Band in 1940), dropped those branch designations in 1947 in favor of the two designations Maroon Band and White Band.

The first unit logos, which later evolved into the now common unit names, began to appear among the Air Force units in the 1955–56 Aggieland yearbook. A few of the Army units began to follow suit in the 1957-58 Aggieland. But, in the 1959–60 academic year, with the complete reorganization of the First and Second Brigades and the official abandonment of the Army Branch designations, the units in the two Army Brigades began to adopt unit nicknames and mascots, or "outfit logos," in earnest.

During the Vietnam War era, the Cadet Corps was composed of two to three Army Brigades, two to three Air Force Wings, and the Band. Each Brigade was composed of two or three battalions of three to five companies each, and each Wing was composed of two groups of three to six squadrons each. During this period the Corps was composed of as many as 40 individual companies and squadrons, including the Band.

The Corps welcomed their first female members in the fall of 1974. At the time, the women were segregated into a special unit, known as W-1, and suffered harassment from many of their male counterparts. Women were initially prohibited from serving in leadership positions or in the more elite Corps units such as the Band and the Ross Volunteers. These groups were opened to female participation in fall of 1985, following a federal court decision in a class-action lawsuit filed by a female cadet. Five years later, in 1990, female-only units were eliminated.

Today, the Cadet Corps is a coeducational institution, and twenty of its thirty-two "outfits" are gender-integrated. Over 2,200 students, including over 160 women are members of the Corps, and, although this is only a small percentage of the overall student population, the Corps remains a highly visible presence on campus, a reminder of the school's origins as an all-male military college. Cadets are very active in many campus organizations and are renowned for their school spirit, often called "Keepers of the Spirit.

All military branches are represented in the organization of the Cadet Corps today. It is now composed of two Air Force Wings, three Army Brigades, and two Navy and Marine Regiments, as well as The Fightin' Texas Aggie Band whose members may be affiliated with any military branch.

Rank

The rank structure of the Cadet Corps is generally based on the Army ROTC cadet rank structure. Today, the ranks are divided by class and, unlike at some other military schools, at Texas A&M a cadet can never be demoted such that a person of a lower class outranks him/her, although this has not always been true. Up through the early 1950s many senior and junior cadets held private rank, although they were accorded privileges and respect commensurate with their class rather than by their rank. Unlike most of the personnel in the U.S. Armed Forces, the rank is always a piece of metal approximately 1 square inch in size affixed to the uniform much like a tie tack, but is never cloth rank sewn onto the fabric.

Freshmen are considered cadet privates and, as such, wear no rank, just a brass "A.M.U." symbolizing the University affiliation with Texas A&M University. Sophomores hold the ranks of cadet private first class or cadet corporal. Juniors are given cadet NCO rank (Sergeant through Sergeant Major of the Corps) and seniors are cadet officers (from Cadet 2nd Lieutenant through Cadet Colonel of the Corps).

The highest-ranking member of the Corps is Reveille VII, the school's official mascot. The female American collie is the "First Lady" of Texas A&M and is present at all Texas A&M football games and other A&M functions. Reveille is cared for by a sophomore cadet from Company E-2, whose position in the Corps is the Mascot Corporal. By decree from the US Army after World War II, Reveille holds the honorary rank of Cadet General. Officially, as there is no, and has never been, the rank of Cadet General at any military school, cadets must create the rank insignia (five diamonds) themselves. To create this rank each year, cadets combine cadet lieutenant colonel insignia (two diamonds) with a cadet colonel insignia (three diamonds) and carefully place them together, creating a five diamond insignia.This five diamond brass is then placed on Reveille's collar, which she wears all year.

Insignia

Rank

Cadet General1

Cadet Colonel of the Corps

Cadet Colonel

Cadet Lieutenant Colonel

Cadet Major

Cadet Captain

Cadet 1st Lieutenant

Cadet 2nd Lieutenant
Insignia

NONE
Rank

Cadet Sergeant Major of the Corps

Cadet Sergeant Major

Cadet First Sergeant

Cadet Master Sergeant

Cadet Sergeant First Class

Cadet Staff Sergeant

Cadet Sergeant

Cadet Corporal

Cadet Private First Class

Cadet Private
1 Honorary title only held by Reveille

Class system

As a member of the Corps, a cadet climbs through four classes of seniority. The current Corps of Cadets uniform is very distinctive, bearing a close resemblance to the US Army uniform(s) from after World War I to World War II, though the Senior uniform, with calf-skin riding boots, harkens back to the US Army officer's uniform of World War I. There are slight differences in the uniform worn by each class year, noted below. All cadets wear the same basic Corps uniform regardless of service branch.

Freshmen

Freshman cadets are called "fish". The first year, the "fish year" is analogous to the experiences of the Rooks at Norwich University, Knobs of the The Citadel, the Rats of Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, or the Rats of VMI, or Plebes at any of the U.S. Federal Service Academies.

A fish is easily recognized by the fact that the garrison cap (aka bider or biter) is plain and not embellished with any braid, or by the black cotton belt. The freshman bider is worn with a deep tuck in the back, which forms a "peak" reminiscent of a fish tail. Freshmen and sophomores are also required to wear metal taps on the heels of their shoes; this facilitates marching in step.

Corps "fish" are not known by their first name and the term "fish" is applied in its stead. Thus, John Smith would become fish Smith. The generic title "fish Jones" is used when an upperclassman wishes to get the attention of a freshman whose name is not known. Corps freshmen introduce themselves to other members of the Corps by a formalized procedure known as "Whipping Out," during which fish introduce themselves with "Howdy! fish [cadet's Last Name] is my name Sir/Ma'am!" The upperclassman shakes the fish's hand and responds by giving his/her name. The freshman then requests the hometown and academic major of the upperclassman. From that point on, the freshman is expected to remember the name, hometown, and major of the upperclassman at any future meeting.

As the academic year progresses, some upperclassmen from units other than the freshman's own will begin to "drop handles" with fish, meaning the upperclassman has granted the fish permission to use his or her first name and speak more informally. Freshmen are still under obligation to obey orders, even from upperclassmen who have "dropped handles" with them.

Instead of thinking, fish "cogitate," as in "fish Jones cogitates it's going to rain." Questions from upperclassmen are to be answered with one of the five fish answers, "Yes, Sir/Ma'am!" "No, Sir/Ma'am!" "No Excuse, Sir/Ma'am!" "(Class Year), Sir/Ma'am!" or (said very quickly): "Sir/Ma'am, not being informed to the highest degree of accuracy I hesitate to articulate for fear that I might deviate from the true course of rectitude. In short Sir/Ma'am, I am a very dumb fish, and do not know, Sir/Ma'am!"

Every fish is also required to know the answers to a wide number of questions including, "What's for chow?", "How many days until Final Review?", and a long list of Texas A&M University history, or "Campusology," questions. For any question requiring a number answer, a fish is expected to respond with his/her class year. In addition to semi-daily uniform inspections, all Cadets, of any rank, should be able to answer all Campusology questions without hesitation.

A fish is not privileged to "live in a room," they "exist in a hole." To refer to their buddy they share the hole with as a 'roommate' would indicate the fish has a room, so the individual is referred to as the "Ol' Lady," a term often used throughout the cadet's corps career. It is also a fish "privilege" to "bust ass" (run as fast as they can) down the hallways of their dorms and are required to do so at all times. Other cadets in the unit that are in the same class year are known as "fish buddies".

Corps fish sit a mandatory Call to Quarters (CQ) during the school week after evening chow. This allows a period of quiet uninterrupted study each night.

Sophomores

The sophomore year is a busy and hectic second year in the Corps. These cadets are known as "pissheads". Several stories circulate as to the origin of the name. The original refers to an incident in the mid-1900s when a group of freshmen urinated on the heads of several sophomores they had grown tired of. A more recent story credits the nickname to Aggie Bonfire, when sophomores would work on the lower levels of the stack, and the upperclassmen above them would relieve themselves. However, the name predates the stacked bonfire, and it is generally accepted that the name also refers to the normal demeanor of sophomores in keeping the freshman class in line. A sophomore teaches the freshman by direct leadership or "leading by example". A sophomore's primary duty in the Corps is to train and drill the freshmen for Final Review in May, and the sophomore is graded by the performance of the freshmen.

Sophomores can be distinguished by the black braids on their hats, their nylon black belt and also their stern demeanor. Much like drill sergeants, the sophomores are responsible for seeing that the fish adapt and excel in Corps life.

Juniors

As a junior, the cadet is called a "sergebutt" or more commonly just a butt. The nickname is a result of the serge material used to make the uniform trousers. When cadets wore college issue cotton khaki, it was a junior privilege to purchase tailor made serge uniforms which were easier to maintain and required less ironing. The Corps junior, wearing a white braid on their garrison cap and a white cotton belt, often finds this to be the most productive and engaging year in the Cadet Corps. The junior class runs the daily operations of the Corps. Juniors hold the rank of cadet sergeant through cadet sergeant major, depending on the position attained.

Seniors

Senior cadets are often referred to as "zips" (short for 'zipperheads'), referring to the black and gold "zipper" braid on the garrison cap. A senior may also be referred to as an "elephant," which derives from the senior class Elephant Walk tradition held the week before the last regularly scheduled football game of the year. Seniors hold cadet officer rank, from cadet 2nd lieutenant to cadet colonel.

Senior cadets, like all seniors at Texas A&M, may also order an Aggie Ring, the symbol of the university and one's graduating class.

A senior cadet is easily recognized by the distinctive brown calf-skin leather boots, known as senior boots, matching leather Sam Browne belt, sabre, and gold braid on the garrison cap. Seniors are the only class allowed to wear their bider without a break or fold in the top seam.

Senior boots

Within the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets, seniors are given the privilege to wear distinctive brown leather boots, known as "senior boots." These boots are one of the most visible and recognizable institutions of the Aggie Corps, and remain one of the lasting images of Texas A&M University.

The tradition of senior boots came about in 1914, when the Corps of Cadets changed uniforms from the West Point style. The seniors wanted a way to further differentiate themselves from the other classes, so they began wearing riding boots, which evolved into the senior boots worn today. By 1925, the boot style was integrated into the official cadet uniform, as a "knee-height English riding boot, of a light brown or tan." Lucchese's bootery in San Antonio became the main supplier of boots.

By 1932, competition closer to campus sprang up. Joseph Holick, founder of the Fightin' Texas Aggie Band, opened Holick's that year, and his competition soon included Victor's, Russell's, and others. The average price for a pair of boots in 1932 was $32.50. During World War II, due to the leather diversion to the war effort, Aggie seniors had to buy or inherit their boots from former cadets. Today, senior boots cost nearly $1000, but 85% of all seniors in the Corps still purchase them.

To assist in removing their boots, seniors are allowed to yell "I need a fish!" at which point all available freshmen in the senior's outfit will race, and sometimes fight, to assist.

Uniforms

A variety of uniforms are issued to a cadet, including summer and winter versions of daily uniforms, dress uniforms and field uniforms. The "Uniform of the Day" depends on the weather. For special occasions and events, the uniform is specified in the Field Order or invitation for the event. Special Corps units have special uniforms, such as the Ross Volunteers, the Fish Drill Team and Parson's Mounted Cavalry.

Uniform Components

Category Name Nickname Description
Headgear Garrison Cap bider or biter Tan/Dark Tan cover. Cadets who are on scholarship and have completed set criteria may attach an ROTC-specific brass emblem to the front. Seniors have an alternating black and gold braid with no dent or peak in the back. Juniors have a white braid with a slight peak in the back. Sophomores have a black braid with a noticeable peak, while freshman have no braid and a significant peak.
Campaign cover Howdy Hat, Smokey-the-Bear Hat, Drill Sergeant Hat Dark Green, with Corps Stack and class color braid (seniors wear a gold braid). This can be worn with any uniform in place of the Garrison Cap or BDU cover.
Service cover Dark Green crown and brass Corps Stack with tan band (gold for seniors), brown visor and strap. The visor and strap are often “marbleized” with black shoe polish to maintain a shiny finish. Seniors wear a gold band to represent cadet officer rank.
Battle Dress Uniform Cover Eight point or round style dictated by branch of service of ROTC. Rank is centered on the crown
Shirts Class B Summer Short sleeve tan shirt with two breast pockets and a seam with three points pointed downward on the back. The major unit crest is placed on the shoulderboards. Citation cords are worn over the wearer’s left shoulder. Corps brass/Band Lyres is worn on the wearer’s left collar and rank is work on the right. ROTC and Specialty badges, marksmanship ribbons, and rack ribbons are worn over the left breast pocket while a nametag and a replacement badge are worn on the right pocket. Presidential Citations are also worn above the right pocket. Patches indicating ROTC affiliation are worn on the upper left arm and a TAMU patch is worn on the left. Worn with a white T-shirt underneath.
Class A Summer Long sleeve version of the Class B Summer shirt. All decorations are the same as the Class B Summer shirt. Sometimes worn with a black tie.
Midnights Dark green version of the Class A Summer shirt. All decorations are the same as the Class B Summer shirt with the exception of ribbons, which may be hanging ribbons. Worn with a tan tie.
Class C Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) Camouflage long-sleeved shirt with Corps brass worn on the wearer’s left collar and rank on the right. Worn with a brown, green, or black shirt undershirt depending on ROTC affiliation. Contract upper class cadets may also wear the utility uniform of their service when attending their weekly ROTC classes (Army Combat Uniform for Army contract seniors, Flight Uniforms for Air Force contract seniors with flight status, or Digital Utilities for marine cadets).
Class D PT Gear Unit-specific t-shirt or grey Corps sweatshirt with Corps Logo, worn primarily during physical training activities
Tuxedo shirt Standard tuxedo shirt with black bowtie, cufflinks, and studs; used only for formal military functions. Only used by band members
Jackets AG44 A Black jacket. Rank is displayed on the shoulder boards.
Class A A US Army Formal dress jacket with 4 chest pockets (2 for females); The coat has brass buttons and a matching belt with a brass 2-slot buckle. Rank and major unit crest is placed on the shoulderboards. Citation cords are worn over the wearer’s left shoulder. Corps brass/Band Lyres and a brass A.M.U. are worn on the collar. ROTC and Specialty badges, marksmanship ribbons, and hanging ribbons are worn over the left breast pocket while a nametag and a replacement badge are worn on the right pocket. Presidential Citations are also worn above the right pocket. Patches indicating ROTC affiliation are worn on the upper left arm and a TAMU patch is worn on the left. This item has been phased out except with the band units.
Raingear A dark tan overcoat used in inclement weather and can be worn over any uniform
Letterman's Sweater White sweater with maroon trim or a maroon sweater indicating Juniors and Seniors who have participated in varsity sports (to include Band members and Yell leaders)
Pants Summer Slacks made from the same color & material as the Summer shirts. Seniors pants are actually jodhpurs made in the same color and material.
Winter Darker than and heavier slacks than the summer pants. Seniors pants are jodhpurs made in the same color and material.
Class C Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) Camouflage pants
Class D PT Gear Grey shorts or grey Corps sweatpants, worn primarily during physical training activities
Footwear Black Low-Quarter Shoes These are not permitted to be patent leather. They are worn with black socks. Women may wear neutral-color hose.
Combat Boots These are black and can consist of any combat boots authorized by the US military. They are worn with black socks.
Senior boots These cavalry riding boots are a privilege reserved for seniors. Most seniors purchase them from one of several local companies; they can also be rented from the Corps Museum, or in some cases, seniors wear the boots a family member wore before them.
Belts and Buckles Freshman belt Black cotton with standard army-issue brass buckle.
Sophomore Belt Black nylon with flat, two-clamp, no tab brass buckle.
Junior Belt White cotton with flat, two-clamp, no tab brass buckle with the Corps Stack.
Senior Belt White nylon with flat, two-clamp, no tab brass buckle with the Army Crest.
Other Sam Browne Belt A wide calfskin belt with matching shoulder strap connected by brass pins, buckles, and hooks used for carrying a sabre. A silver, double-braided chain and hook connects to the scabbard of the sabre. Optional for use with a sabre. May be worn without a sabre for formal events when weapons are inappropriate (such as the commander of a funeral detail while in a church). Typically this item is reserved for seniors serving in a command capacity.
White cotton gloves Worn for formal functions or when carrying a sabre or bugle. A rubberized gripping surface on the outer surface of the palms are only authorized for those carrying sabres, guidons, flags, or bugles.

Uniform Combinations

  • Class B Summer

Tan Garrison Cap, Class B Summer shirt, AG44 Jacket or Letterman's Sweater (optional), Summer Pants, Black Low-quarter shoes/Senior boots

  • Class A Summer

Tan Garrison Cap, Class A Summer shirt, AG44 Jacket or Letterman's Sweater (optional), Summer Pants, Black Low-quarter shoes/Senior boots

  • Class B Winter

Dark Tan Garrison Cap, Class B Summer shirt, AG44 Jacket or Letterman's Sweater (optional), Winter Pants, Black Low-quarter shoes/Senior boots

  • Class A Winter

Service Hat, Class A Summer shirt with black tie, Class A Jacket, Winter Pants, Black Low-quarter shoes/Senior boots

  • Midnights - Variation of Class A Winter

Dark Tan Garrison Cap or Service Hat, Midnight shirt, Winter Pants, Black Low-quarter shoes/Senior boots

Corps life

Today, due to the reduced size of the Corps and expanded on-campus dormitories, cadets no longer occupy all of the buildings on campus. The Corps is housed only in the dorms located in what is now called "the Corps dorms," or "the Corps area" on the Quadrangle, a.k.a. "the Quad". They are divided into companies, batteries, and squadrons, which range from 20 to 110 cadets and serve as the basic units of the Corps of Cadets. These units are aligned by ROTC affiliation under two Navy/Marine Regiments, two Air Force Wings, three Army Brigades, and the Combined Band.

There are normally two Corps formations each day—one in the morning and one in the evening to observe the raising and lowering of the American Flag before marching to Duncan Dining Hall for chow. Individual fish in each unit serve as 'Whistle Jocks" to announce the approach of formations, the Uniform of the Day, and the menu for the next meal.

In addition to normal college classes, cadets participate in daily Corps activities. These can range from intramural sport events, helping the local community, to a 1,800-member formation Corps run around campus.

Current Corps structure

Army
First Brigade Second Brigade Third Brigade
Animal A-1 * B-2 Patriots Spider D-1
A-2 Peacekeepers * # D-2 Dogs E-1 Jocks #
Battlin' B-1 * # F-2 Foxes # Kayo K-1
C-1 Cobras * Lonestar L-1
Red Eye I-1 *
Navy and Marines
First Regiment Second Regiment
C-2 Cocks E-2 Mascot Company
Killer K-2 # H-1 Rough Riders
Trident P-2 * N-1 Knights * #
Spartan S-1 * # Viper V-1 *
Air Force
First Wing Second Wing
Gator 2 * Outlaw 8 * #
Thunderbird 3 * Talon 12 * #
Challenger 17 Falcon 16 * #
Phantom 18 * Hellcat 21 * #
Joint Service
Task Force Combined Band - Nighthawk 23 *
Delta Company * A-Battery Noblemen *
Parsons Mounted Cavalry * B-Battery Wildmen *
Titan 20 * A-Company Wolfpack *
B-Company Street Fighters *

Key: * = Gender Integrated Unit, # = Technical Unit

Note that "Company A-1" or "Squadron 2," for example, would be the official designations of the outfits in the Corps. The nicknames of the outfits are included because they are an integral part of the tradition and heritage of the Corps.

A-2 is a unit for cadets who are pursuing degrees in architecture.

C-1 is a unit for cadets who are pursuing degrees in agriculture.

V-1 is a unit for prior service members, varsity athletes, off-campus and married students.

Sq. 18 is the "frog" outfit for out-of-cycle cadets who will be completing their entire freshman year in one semester.

D-Co is a unit for veterans who have been deployed at least once.

SQ. 20 is a unit for cadets who are seeking to attend a professional school.

SQ. 23 is a unit for cadets who are not fully admitted into the University and are taking courses both at A&M and the Blinn Community College.

Special units

The following are special units within the Corps of which cadets can of which the cadets can additionally be members (for example a cadet in D-2 could be a member of the Ross Volunteers, but not the Band)

Ross Volunteers

The Ross Volunteer Company is the official Honor Guard for the Governor of the state of Texas, and, aside from the Cadet Corps itself, is the oldest student organization in the state of Texas. The organization was named for Texas A&M president Lawrence Sullivan Ross. The company is composed of junior and senior cadets. Each fall 72 junior cadets are selected into the company by the R. V. seniors. Today, the R. V. uniform is a distinctive white uniform. The R. V. Company performs a 3 volley, 21-gun salute at the traditional Silver Taps ceremony and at the annual campus Muster event. In addition the RV Company marches in several parades each year including the Rex Parade on Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana. The RVs serve as the honor guard of Rex, the king of Mardi Gras.

Color Guard

The first thing seen from afar during reviews, the Color Guard represents the Corps' devotion to loyalty, pride, and patriotism. This special unit consists of a Commanding Officer, an Executive Officer, and flagbearers/guards for Corps Staff and every Major Unit except the Band. They are renowned state-wide and are frequently called upon to present the Colors at many events all over the state of Texas.

Rudder's Rangers

Rudder's Rangers is named for James Earl Rudder, commander of the 2nd Ranger battalion that stormed the beaches at Normandy. Upon retirement from the military, Rudder became the 16th president of Texas A&M University.

Rudder's Rangers trains volunteer Army ROTC cadets and prepares them to take part in some of the Army's special training schools, such as Airborne School, Air Assault School, and eventually Ranger School. This training happens over a year long process, during which cadets participate in a Winter Field Training Exercise at Ft. Hood and Compete in Texas A&M's Best Ranger Competition. Cadets meeting the requirements are awarded a pin to wear on their uniform. The prestigious pin can be seen on hats, shirts and sweaters of the proud Rudder's Rangers.

The newest addition to Rudder's Rangers is the Combat 5k. The 5k, which is a philanthropy event, raises money for Fisher House. This year was the first annual run held in College Station, TX.

Fish Drill Team

This all-freshman precision rifle drill team represents Texas A&M and its Corps of Cadets in competition with other colleges at military drill meets around the nation. The team has been a part of Corps life for more than 60 years and has won several national championships. Participation requires daily rifle drill instruction and practice, as well as dedication, perseverance, hard work and a desire to be the best. Freshman cadets should ensure their academic performance will withstand the required investment of time and concentration before volunteering for the team. As with all other Corps activities, poor academic performance will result in suspension from participation.

The team began when the freshman were moved from the main campus to deal with the overcrowding and hazing issues that followed World War II and the return of war veterans to the A&M campus. The freshman were moved to the Riverside Campus Annex and lived in the dorms of the retired Bryan Air Force Base twelve miles from campus. The were bussed to class each day, but primarily lived in isolation from the rest of the Corps. Out of boredom, the freshman organized themselves into the Freshman Drill Team and made their debut performance among the jeers and laughter of their upperclassmen. By the end of the performance however, the team received a standing ovation.

The Fish Drill Team is open to any freshman in the Corps who is willing to accept the challenges of being on the team. The Fish Drill Team competes in precision drill competitions around the United States each year and represents the Corps of Cadets and Texas A&M. They have won numerous national championships, including 5 consecutive national titles at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC from 1968-1972. In 1973 the team got 2nd after several recounts of the points, and the point margin was .6. The competition was canceled after that point and never returned.

With the absence of a national drill meet, the Fish Drill Team continued winning. The team won 16 consecutive Texas State Champion titles.

In 1997, the team was put on hiatus for 4 years due to leadership concerns and issues.

The team was reinstated in the Spring of 2002 with the Class of 2005 freshman restarting the tradition. The Class of 2006 was the first team to compete since it was reinstated, and they took 2nd in the nation. Since then the Fish Drill Team has won consecutive national titles; including their most recent win: the 2008 Mardi Gras Drill Meet hosted by Tulane University NROTC.

SEAL Platoon

A team of cadets that prepares cadets who wish to become US Navy SEALs

Recon Company

A team of cadets that prepares cadets who wish to become US Marine Force Recon members

Corps Center Guard

Historical unit that strives to preserve the history of the Corps. They run the Sanders Corps of Cadets Center and give tours on a daily basis. As a tribute to the past of A&M, members often wear old uniforms of the Corps.

Parson's Mounted Cavalry

Parson's Mounted Cavalry preserves the tradition of the cavalry at Texas A&M. The mounted unit was formed in the spring of 1973 to represent the university at agricultural and equestrian events throughout Texas. It is named after Col. Thomas R. Parsons, a former Commandant of Cadets. “The Cav” marches with the Corps at all home football games.

This special unit also maintains and keeps the "Spirit of '02". The field gun was found in the late 1970s at a bonfire cut site near Easterwood Airport. Legend has it that this gun was the run away that tumbled over a ridge in the movie, "We've Never Been Licked." Through the dedication and hard work of John Gunter '79 and financing from the Association of Former Students, a limber/caisson was found on a ranch near Georgetown, Texas, wheels made in Oklahoma City, and original McClelland tack was obtained.

Gen. O.R. Simpson Honor Society

Cadets need to have a cumulative 3.4 GPR in order to join. Members foster new ideas of academic achievement, leadership and character in the Corps of Cadets and promotion of scholastic excellence through academic related projects which include tutor assistance and operation of a study lounge for all cadets.

Pathfinders

An orienteering and land navigation unit.

See also

References

External links

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