Friends, family honor Deputy Commandant after 24 years of service
Published: Monday, September 3, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 3, 2012 02:09
The Commandant Staff and distinguished University officials gathered to recognize — amid laughter and tears — the retirement of Col. Jake Betty, who worked with the Corps of Cadets for the last 24 years.
The Sam Houston Sanders Corps of Cadets Center hosted Betty’s retirement ceremony Friday.
Guests came to share stories, experiences and gratitude with Betty, Class of 1973. Betty most recently served as deputy commandant underneath Brig. Gen. Joe Ramirez. Before the arrival of Ramirez, Betty had been assigned to the position of interim commandant.
“I’ll never forget a certain day in Feb. 2010 when I summoned Jake into my office and asked him to do a very special job: interim commandant,” said President R. Bowen Loftin. “And Jake didn’t hesitate; he said ‘yes sir.’ Aggies do that.”
Others, like Lt. Gen. Joe Weber, spoke of Betty’s efforts to be an influence on the Quad.
“[Betty’s] legacy is going to be the men and women that [he’s] touched over almost a quarter of a century,” Weber said. “They will always remember [him] and [he] will always remember them.”
Weber read a certificate of retirement from Gov. Rick Perry, citing Betty’s military service and dedication to the Corps.
“It has often been said that the actions of the brave allow us all to live free in this great land that we call home,” the certificate read. “Our armed forces have long borne the standard of our great nation in defending our most cherished rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We salute you for your service to the United States of America, the state of Texas and Texas A&M University.”
Ramirez, who made Betty his deputy commandant and chief of staff after he arrived, said Betty had been a model in which to follow.
“When I got here, people said ‘do what Jake did,’” Ramirez said. “It didn’t take me long to realize they were right.”
Ramirez said Betty became more than the position he had been assigned.
“He became a confidant. He became the guy I turned to,” Ramirez said. “Not only is Jake Betty a great officer and a great deputy commandant, but he’s also a great friend.”
Ramirez also spoke about Betty’s legacy, which has surpassed to the realm of the Quad.
“I can’t tell you the number of young men and women who came up and said ‘let me tell you how Col. Betty kept me in the Corps,’” Ramirez said.
Through tears Betty addressed the crowd, thanking everyone for their support and helping him to be successful.
“Everyone in this room has had an impact on my life and my success here at Texas A&M,” Betty said. “It makes what I’ve done at Texas A&M worth that much more.”
Betty first came to Texas A&M after initially being denied admission to the school, but his father’s friend was classmates with the president of the University at the time.
“He wrote a recommendation letter to Gen. Rudder,” Betty said.
Later Betty became Mrs. Rudder’s escort and was told that Gen. Rudder had been keeping an eye on him as he progressed through school. As a result, Betty became very close with the Rudder family, and even has a grandson with that name.
Betty said as a senior in the Corps, he hoped he would work with the Corps in some capacity.
“I remember one evening my senior year with my buddies and we were discussing our future. All of a sudden one of my buddies turns to me and says ‘Jake, if you had you’re dream what would you be doing in 25 years?’” Betty said. “I said if I had my dream job I would be working with the Corps of Cadets.”
As he looked out over the crowd one last time, Betty said he would always remember the Corps.
“To say that the Corps of Cadets had an impact on my life would be an understatement,” Betty said. “The Corps will forever be on my mind, and will forever be a part of my life.”