The Corps of Cadets is a student-led, military-style organization at Texas A&M. It is the oldest student organization on campus and was established with the university in 1876. While participation in the Corps of Cadets was at one time mandatory for all who attended Texas A&M, participation in the Corps became voluntary in 1965. However, the Corps of Cadets is a large, visible part of the university and continues to play an important part in Texas A&M’s traditions and history.
The men and women of the Corps of Cadets form the largest uniformed body of students outside of the United States service academies. While Texas A&M’s Corps of Cadets consistently commissions more officers into the country’s military than any other school in the nation except the three service academies, membership in the Corps carries no military obligation.
Cadets in the Corps live a disciplined lifestyle while gaining practical experience in leadership and organizational management. Participation in the Corps of Cadets helps prepare cadets for the global leadership challenges of the 21st century. The Corps of Cadets has many programs that are specifically designed to prepare cadets for leadership roles in the U.S. military, corporate America, government service, and the private sector.
The unique spirit and traditions that make Texas A&M so special are deeply rooted in the Corps of Cadets experience. For that reason, the Corps has been long regarded as the “Keepers of the Spirit and the Guardians of Tradition” of Aggieland.
The Ross Volunteer Company is the oldest honor guard and drill team of its kind in the state of Texas. The honor guard was formed in 1887 and was originally named the Scott Volunteers. In 1898, the unit was renamed in honor of Lawrence Sullivan Ross, former governor of the state of Texas and President of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas.
The company, which serves as the official Honor Guard of the Governor of Texas, is composed of junior and senior cadets. The cadets wear a very distinctive white uniform with yellow trim, while officers wear a silk red stash around the waist of their uniforms.
The Ross Volunteers — which are often called RVs — perform 3-volley, 21-gun salutes at Texas A&M’s Silver Taps ceremonies and its annual Muster ceremony. In addition to these ceremonies, the RVs march in several parades each year and also serve as the Honor Guard of King Rex, the King of Mardi Gras, in New Orleans.
Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band
The Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band is the official marching band of Texas A&M. Also known as the “Noble Men of Kyle,” the Aggie Band is the largest military marching band in the United States. All members of the Aggie Band are members of the Corps of Cadets.
The nationally acclaimed Aggie Band, which was formed in 1894, is known for its military precision and style. The band performs at all university home football games, many away games — including bowl games — and other functions throughout the year. The band has also participated in inaugural parades for many U.S. presidents and Texas governors, as well as numerous other parades and special events, making it one of the most traveled collegiate bands in the country.
Fish Drill Team
The Fish Drill Team is an all-freshman precision rifle drill team that represents the Corps of Cadets and Texas A&M at military drill meets across the United States. The Fish Drill Team has won numerous national championships at the Tulane NROTC National Drill Competition over its six decades of existence, making it one of the most highly decorated and recognized organizations in the Corps of Cadets.
Parson’s Mounted Cavalry
Parson’s Mounted Cavalry was formed in 1973 and was named after Col. Thomas R. Parsons, a former commandant of cadets. Parsons Mounted Cavalry is currently comprised of more than 40 horses and four mules and marches with the Corps of Cadets at all home football games. All members of Parsons Mounted Cavalry are cadets in the Corps and are trained in basic horsemanship skills, as well as the care and feeding of the stock. Parsons Mounted Cavalry represents Texas A&M at parades and other equestrian events throughout the state of Texas.