is dedicated to training tomorrow's leaders
Gen. M.T. 'Ted' Hopgood
are the times that try mens souls. The summer soldier and
the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service
of their country; but he that stands it now deserves the love and
thanks of man and woman.
Eagle file photo/Butch Ireland
of the Corps of Cadets march across O.R. Simpson Drill Field
last month as part of their annual review.
penned these lines in the winter of 1776, as Americans struggled
to gain their freedom in the Revolutionary War. His words are no
less relevant today as we reflect on the recent terrorist attacks
against America and how they will affect its future.
In 1776, America needed soldiers, volunteers who would come to the
service of their fledgling nation. Today, America needs leaders
in all walks of life to chart the course the nation will take into
the future; leaders to ably serve their professions and their communities.
Leadership and character development are what Texas A&M Universitys
Corps of Cadets is all about. Simply put, our mission is to train
leaders of character and competence for service to the state and
nation. Weve been doing that successfully for 125 years.
When people see an Aggie cadet, they think of the military. Thats
only natural. Our 2,000 cadets are the largest uniformed body of
students outside the U.S. service academies and we commission more
military officers than any other school except those academies.
Were justly proud of our cadets military accomplishments.
Aggies have fought in all of Americas conflicts since the
Spanish-American War. Seven former cadets have received the Medal
of Honor and 225 have become generals or admirals.
But thats only part of the story. Many people are surprised
to learn that only about 30 percent of our graduating cadets receive
commissions as officers. The vast majority enters the mainstream
civilian workforce in professions of their own choosing. Membership
in the Corps itself carries no military obligation.
The land-grant college system that gave rise to Texas A&M mandated
military training as well as academic education. The university
has remained true to its land-grant roots, maintaining its cadet
corps intact and encouraging its growth. Today, we use the framework
of a military organization to teach all our cadets leadership skills
that complement the academic education they receive here.
I believe the Corps of Cadets offers an outstanding opportunity
for any young man or woman who wants more from college than just
a degree. When they join our Corps, theyre signing up for
a four-year leadership laboratory that will equip them to succeed
on the battlefield or in the boardroom.
Cadets first learn followership, time management, and
self-discipline through a rigorous and demanding freshman year.
Living in cadet units, they learn to work as a team to achieve stated
goals and objectives. Aggie cadets are required to adhere to a strict
code of honor and a no excuses ethic of personal accountability.
As they progress through the leadership ranks, cadets become responsible
for leading the efforts of increasingly larger groups of people
and managing ever-more complex organizations or programs. All cadets
learn to put mission accomplishment and the welfare of subordinates
ahead of themselves. Although they work within a hierarchical structure,
cadets also are taught to think critically, eschew group-think,
and to lead from out in front.
They learn the value of service through regular support of university
events, participation in campuswide student organizations and Corps
community service projects. The camaraderie and esprit developed
through the Corps experience provide cadets with an appreciation
for the values of loyalty to ones organization and fellowship
with ones co-workers.
Cadets leave the Corps accustomed to hard work and sacrifice, motivated
for a lifetime of service in their chosen field, and prepared to
take charge when called.
The Corps experience is a proven system thats prepared countless
young men and women to lead America in peace or war. Its a
system employers can count on to provide them a disciplined young
person ready to take the initiative and help move the organization
forward. So whether you need a design team leader or a fire team
leader, theres an Aggie cadet who fits the bill.
When Thomas Paine issued the call to serve in 1776, he knew the
nation needed more than soldiers, it needed leaders. We werent
around for the revolution, but the Corps of Cadets has been answering
Tom Paines call since Texas A&M opened its doors in 1876.
Well keep on answering it as long as the nation needs leaders
and as long as there are Aggies willing to serve.
And that should be just about forever.
Maj. Gen. M.T. Ted Hopgood Jr. is the commandant
of the Corps of Cadets.