COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- The Texans Corps of Cadets from Tarleton State University stands in formation waiting to march for the first time with their sister Cadet Corps at Texas A&M University, Nov. 16.
As a system school of Texas A&M, the Texans Cadet Corps came to participate in the Texas A&M Military Appreciation Game, this year against the South Carolina University Gamecocks.
"The first system school of Texas A&M, the Tarleton State Texans, had a cadet corps from 1917 to 1953," explained retired Army Lt. Col. Lee H. Evans, Texans Corps of Cadets assistant commandant. "In 2016, they brought back the Texans Corps of Cadets. The only corps established in the 21st Century."
As part of tradition, the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets forms up in front of the corps dormitories in an area of campus called the "Quad." As gametime nears, cadets march in full dress uniform through closed campus streets before arriving to Kyle Field. Families, friends, students, and spectators line the streets of their path to watch and take pictures.
This march is special for the Tarleton State Texans Corps of Cadets and cadre, not just because they're joining their Aggie counterparts, but because they're taking part in a time-honored tradition. Evans, a Texas A&M alumni said, " I bleed Maroon. I'm a Fightin' Texas Aggie."
Evans, a Mineral Wells, Texas native, served with the U.S. Army Special Forces as an officer before he retired in 2016 as 27-year veteran.
"I've had great mentors in the units that I've been and so I just want to pass the torch," said Evans. "The greatness and leadership training that comes from the corps of cadets is that you're doing this 24/7, 168 hours a week."
Among the Texans cadets, was U.S. Army Reserve Pfc. Scarlet Loney from Frisco, Texas. Loney is a freshman at Tarleton State, and this was her first time visiting Texas A&M.
"I'm excited about the game cause I don't like South Carolina," said Loney. "I just don't like Carolina, because my basic training was in South Carolina. So I don't want South Carolina to win."
Loney said she plans to commission as a U.S. Army officer and appreciates what she has learned as a cadet from her mentors at Tarleton. "As far as preparing us for it -- the type of leader I want to be is the one you can go to."
Developing leaders is a fundamental function of the Corps of Cadets at Texas A&M and Tarleton State. Beyond traditions, marching, and celebrating the military for their service, are the mentoring relationships, said Loney. "It's family oriented, so you get a lot of the one on one training ... I feel like you get a lot more out of it that way."
"When you put [graduated cadets] out in front of a platoon," said Evans. "I want a strong leader."