Long time coming
Governor Perry's former squadron rekindles after decades of deactivation
Published: Sunday, January 13, 2013
Updated: Sunday, January 13, 2013 22:01
For two decades, former members of the Corps of Cadets’ once-vaunted Squadron 6 Flying Tigers had fond memories and cherished friendships as evidence of their time at Texas A&M, but no active students to serve as an embodiment of their legacy after the unit’s 1992 deactivation.
Dozens of former Flying Tigers gathered Saturday to celebrate the unit’s reactivation. Among them were Texas Governor Rick Perry, Class of 1972, and A&M System Chancellor John Sharp, also Class of 1972.
The two men expressed concerns about the unit’s hiatus, and playfully tried to claim credit for the reactivation of Squadron 6.
The growth of the Corps of Cadets, whose numbers are the highest in more than 10 years, necessitated the reactivation of Squadron 6. Company S-2 was also reactivated with 36 members and the appointment of senior Michael Smith as the new outfit commander.
“This morning has been a long time coming,” Corps Commandant Joe Ramirez said. “I look forward to adding even more units as the Corps continues to grow and continuing the Corps’ legacy of success and achievement.”
Perry spoke after senior aerospace engineering major Fernando Aguilera assumed the position of the unit’s new commander and the orders of Squadron 6 were read, highlighting the lessons he remembered the squadron offered him.
“Camaraderie, friendship and brotherhood were molded here,” Perry said. “Your time here is more than about yourself. One person will be successful only if all of you are.”
Perry continued by addressing the unit’s 31 new members directly.
“You are now part of a legacy changing the world,” Perry said. “It’s good to see the Tiger flying once again.”
Other former students attending the morning ceremony were excited to see the unit revived.
“I’m looking forward to seeing them bring back our old traditions,” said Tony Godinez, Class of 1990. “A lot of us like to come back on football game days to visit the quad, and having our old outfit around will be even better.”
Echoing some of the Governor’s comments, Godinez emphasized the bonds formed within Squadron 6.
“Going out to bonfire with my buddies from [Squadron 6} formed the strongest friendships in my outfit, and was one of my favorite memories at A&M,” Godinez said.
In assuming the mantle of leadership, Aguilera said he is striving to give back to the University and the many former students who paved the way for his success.
“This is a great day to be part of a great legacy,” Aguilera said.
Aguilera then turned to the crowd and made a promise that his outfit would be committed to the excellence that former students had embraced.
“You are our legacy, what we look forward to one day being,” Aguilera said. “We will take care of the Corps and we will make you proud.”