Muster Set for 325 Sites Around the World Tuesday
Muster, Texas A&M University’s annual solemn tradition — and one of its most visible — will be held at more than 325 sites around the world Tuesday (April 21), including ceremonies at military bases in Afghanistan and with the campus ceremony expected to pack 12,500-seat Reed Arena.
Muster is a time set aside each year to honor Aggies who have died since the ceremony was held a year ago. No matter where Aggies are, whether they are as few as two or as many as the thousands who will gather at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Reed Arena, they come together each April 21 for Muster.
“We are blessed to have no Aggies killed in action since the last Muster,” says Scott M. Jarvis, coordinator of A&M Club Programs with The Association of Former Students.
Planners say the exact number of Muster ceremonies being held around the world is difficult to determine because some are spontaneous, including some held on battlefields, just as happened during World Wars I and II and in Korea and Vietnam. They say more about the known Muster ceremonies can be found on a map showing the locations of the off-campus Musters at https://www.aggienetwork.com/muster/search.aspx. The map also has links to more information about Muster and the “Roll Call for the Absent.”
The most famous Muster was held in 1946 after World War II when Aggies who were present among the American armed forces on Corregidor once again held Muster on the island. A memorial honoring those Aggies who served on Corregidor will be dedicated there Tuesday. Using a series of four panels, the monument will list nearly 200 names. Simple in design, the monument represents the sacrifice, bravery and Aggie Spirit of those Aggies.
The campus ceremony is student organized, with the students making the decision of whom to invite as speaker.
Newly elected U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, a 1999 Texas A&M graduate who was student body president his senior year, will be the university’s 2015 campus Muster speaker. After graduation, Hurd served as an undercover officer in the CIA in the Middle East and South Asia for nearly a decade, collecting intelligence that influenced the national security agenda.
Upon leaving the CIA, he became a senior adviser with a cybersecurity firm, covering a wide range of complex challenges faced by manufacturers, financial institutions, retailers and critical infrastructure owners. He was a partner with a strategic advisory firm helping businesses expand into international markets.
Last November Hurd was elected to the 114th Congress as U.S. Representative from the 23rd District of Texas, which includes San Antonio. He currently serves on the Committee of Oversight and Government Reform and chairs the Information Technology Subcommittee, along with serving on the Homeland Security Committee and is vice chair of the Border and Maritime Subcommittee.
For more about Hurd, go to https://muster.tamu.edu/speaker. The site also contains a list of past campus muster speakers such as Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower (1946), Aggie Medal of Honor recipient Eli Whitely (1962) and E. King Gill, the Aggie who started the 12th Man tradition (1964).
Though Muster ends on a somber note, the day begins with fun.
Many former students return to campus for Muster, among them those who graduated 50 years before who hold a special class reunion. This year, it will be Texas A&M’s Class of 1965.
Muster activities begin with a 7 a.m. flag-raising ceremony and Corps of Cadets formation in the plaza in front of the Academic Building and will be followed at 11 a.m. by the annual Camaraderie Barbecue. This year it will be held on the Kyle Field Northeast Plaza and the entertainment includes several student groups. The cost of the meal is $10. For more information and a list of performers, go to https://muster.tamu.edu/node/62.
Organizers say this is an opportunity for Aggies of all ages to gather and share fun and tell stories and “live over again” their days at Texas A&M. They add that it also gives current students a chance to spend time with the anniversary Class of 1965.
The doors to Reed Arena will open at 5 p.m., and seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Parking information, including maps of West Campus, can be found by going to https://transport.tamu.edu/.
At each Muster ceremony around the world, a speaker will be followed by the “Roll Call for the Absent.” Names of those from that area who have died in the past year will be read, and as each name is called, a family member or friend will answer “Here,” and a candle will be lit.
Following the candle-lighting ceremony at the campus Muster, the Ross Volunteer Company will march in to fire a rifle volley followed by a special arrangement of “Taps.” In addition, the ceremony also will include performances by the Singing Cadets and the Aggie Band.
A relatively new addition to the Muster tradition is the Muster Reflections Display. Its purpose is to more fully recognize the lives of the Aggies being honored by displaying personal items of the Roll Call honorees as a memorial to them. These items will be on display in the MSC Flag Room from April 17 through April 21.
Muster was first held on June 26, 1883. Former students of Texas A&M, then called ex-cadets, were to gather and “…live over again our college days, the victories and defeats won and lost upon drill ground and classroom. Let every alumnus answer a roll call.”
Muster was held in Europe during World War I, where thousands of Aggies were serving. During World War II, Gen. George F. Moore, Texas A&M Class of 1908, was the commander of Fort Mills on Corregidor Island in the Philippines. He, along with 25 other Aggies on the island, held a Muster celebration on April 21, 1942. By May 6, the island had fallen to Japanese forces, and all of those Aggies were either captured or killed.
For more on the history of Muster, go to https://muster.tamu.edu/history.