Aggies at War
The A. & M. in Texas Agricultural & Mechanical College might as well stand for Athletic & Military. In other days nine out of ten of its students played football on one of its many school teams; all but the bedridden turned out for "yell [not cheer] practice," its rough, tough, blacksmith-armed Aggie teams romped over opponents. And last week, of 699 graduates in the class of 1942, 565 went out with Army commissions; of the remaining 134, more than half have already signed for Army and Navy aviation. Texas A. & M. turns out more officers than West Point.
Unlike most U.S. colleges in the last two decades, Texas A. & M. never gave pacifism a lookin. Only college with nine branches of R.O.T.C., it enrolled every Aggie in one of them for at least two years, ran the whole school on military discipline. Seniors wear breeches, boots and spurs; freshmen are "Fish," from whom upperclassmen tolerate no nonsense. On Dec. 7 Texas A. & M. had among its alumni 5,135 reserve officers (more than half of all its living graduates).
Texas Aggies figure large on the roll of U.S. heroes in World War II. An Aggie "sighted sub, sank same." Another (Major General George F. Moore) directed the coastal defense at Corregidor. Aggies have won D.S.C.s like football games. Twenty-eight of them died on Bataan and Corregidor. The Aggies are proud of their military record. They like to recall the example of the Class of 1917, which held its commencement at a training camp, joined up as one man.
As early as June 1940 Texas A. & M. offered its full facilities to the U.S. Immediately after Pearl Harbor the Aggies were the first major U.S. college to go all-out on a twelve-month schedule, first to switch shops and laboratories to a 24-hour day. The four-year course was cut to two years, eight months. Doubling military instruction, the Aggies added Army mess management to animal husbandry, inaugurated courses in explosives. Architects shifted to camouflage. A. & M. organized Statewide courses for civilian defense.
Readying itself to train 1,000 to 3,000 flyers, navigators, bombardiers, A. & M. is now finishing an airport, planning a doubling-up program to fill dormitories four or five deep. Says Aggie President Thomas Otto Walton: "What does the Government want done? We will do it."
- Find this article at: