Also In This Issue


LIFE Profiles 1949 Military Ball

I enjoyed your Time Capsule article in the summer issue of Spirit about Percy Mims ’60, which reminded me similarly of another historical moment: the LIFE magazine shoot at Texas A&M during the February 1949 military ball weekend.

The weekend coincided with Audie Murphy’s historic visit to the Texas A&M campus. Murphy was one of the most decorated American combat soldiers of World War II, receiving every military combat award for valor available from the U.S. Army, as well as French and Belgium awards for heroism. On Feb. 12, 1949, he became the first person in Texas A&M history to be bestowed the rank of honorary cadet colonel.

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The events of the weekend were captured by LIFE photographer Frank Scherschel, while a story on the military ball and Murphy’s visit ran in LIFE’s March 14, 1949, issue. About four years ago, I found photos from the weekend on LIFE’s online archives and shared them at that time with Cushing Memorial Library and Archives, the Sanders Corps Center and class agents from the classes of 1949 through 1953.

During a historic 1949 visit to Texas A&M's campus, Audie Murphy (back seat, center) was made an honorary cadet colonel.

Photos show guests arriving at the College Station train station (dates to the military ball were mostly from the Texas State College for Women, otherwise known as Tessies); Audie Murphy’s hero welcome; scenes from the ball, for which the Vaughn Monroe Band and Vocals provided entertainment; a full assembly of the Corps of Cadets, comprising of five regiments and two military bands; and a Corps review.

Photography is a hobby for me, so I really appreciated the photos from a photojournalism perspective. They provide an in-depth glimpse into a very remarkable Texas A&M moment.

Kenneth Tom ’67
Annapolis, Maryland

Blazing New Texas Trails

I was thrilled to read the historical note on the back cover of the spring 2016 issue of Spirit magazine regarding our namesake, the original Texas Central Railway, and the role it played in the founding of Texas A&M University.

As a member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of ’91 and the managing director of external affairs for today’s iteration of Texas Central Railway, now known simply as Texas Central, I’m humbled to learn that we are but the latest link in a chain that leads all the way back to the birth of our alma mater.

If you’re not aware, Texas Central is developing America’s first high-speed passenger rail system, which will soon connect North Texas and Houston with a stop in the Brazos Valley. It’s exciting to know that, like Texas Central Railway in the late 19th century, our company is blazing a new trail through the Lone Star State—only this time, it’ll be on electrified tracks and running at about 200 miles per hour.

As we press on with this landmark, legacy project, I will continue to draw upon the lessons learned from the pioneers of the original Texas Central Railway and from my time spent as a student at Texas A&M. I feel incredibly blessed to work on a project that will connect the past with the present not only in name, but in function. The opportunity to bring former, current and future students together—safer and faster than ever before—will be a catalyst for ideas that will lead Texas into the future.

Again, thank you so much for sharing this bit of Texas history and the original Spirit of Aggieland with your readers.

Holly Reed ’91
Dallas, Texas

Proud of Percy

I had to write in after reading the article in Spirit about Percy Mims ’60 and the “Mims Manual of (Mannerly) Manners,” which was featured after all of these years. People shot a lot of flak at him (and at his brother Larry Mims ’63, one of my friends), but Percy was unflappable. 

Having been brought up in a family that stressed manners, I appreciated where he was coming from, given the inherent crudity of an all-male school. I still have my manual, and I pull it out of my footlocker on occasion to entertain and sometimes amaze my more appreciative and understanding wives, friends and kin, especially grandkids. 

Fifty-seven years ago, Percy did a brave act to enlighten and call attention for Aggies on how to treat our fellow man—and especially our ladies! Kudos to him and the Mims family. I know they all must be proud!

Michael Neal Walker ’63
Kerrville, Texas

Great Trailblazers Article

Great Trailblazers article in the summer issue. The Houston A&M Club and Woodlands Aggie Networking Group both meet at the Cordúa restaurants—Américas in The Woodlands and Artista in Houston. Both places have great food and amazing service!

Crystal Dobson Prachyl ’04
The Woodlands, Texas

Compliments to Chelsea

Thanks again to Chelsea O’Neal ’17 for writing such a great article about the Century Tree Project and Aaron DePaolo ’18. Gig ’em!

Andy Duffie ’78
College Station, Texas

Cordúa's Eateries

I loved the Trailblazers story in the summer issue about Michael Cordúa '80. The read kept me occupied on a plane from Dallas-Fort Worth to San Antonio. I’m now excited to try out some of his eateries in Houston!

Kathleen Smith ’90
Frisco, Texas

Charming History

I loved the summer Time Capsule article about the 1959 etiquette manual. It was a great story that captured a charming piece of the Aggie past. Thank you for sharing this and Aggies' memories about it! Some good advice in there, not least this: "When your table has guests present, don't 'wildcat.' Be impressive as an Aggie by your behavior.

Sue Owen ’94
College Station, Texas