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Interviews by Mamie Hertel ’24

Adventures With Reveille

Former Mascot Corporals Recall Their Favorite Memories with The First Lady of Aggieland.

Photo of Reveille IX

I n a cadet’s first year in Company E-2, freshmen grasp the significance of self-discipline, the rhythms of life on the Quad and, most crucially, the importance of never making eye contact with or approaching the highest-ranking member of the Corps of Cadets: Reveille. A few short months later at Family Weekend in April, one of those freshmen is selected as mascot corporal. As Reveille’s handler, they spend their sophomore year traveling thousands of miles across Texas to Aggie Moms’ Club meetings, Coach’s Nights, football games and more.

In 2022, Dr. Sue ’94 ’02 and Patrick Mahoney ’71 acknowledged the hard work and dedication of handlers by creating a fund that provides scholarships for the mascot corporal and the two assistant corporals, a much-needed financial relief for cadets who spend all day, every day caring for Reveille. “The Reveille tradition is important to everyone,” Patrick said. “We wanted to ensure the cadets caring for such an important part of this university are also cared for.”

The tradition of Reveille dates to 1931, when a group of cadets discovered an injured black-and-white dog on their way back to campus from Navasota, Texas. The Aggies snuck her into their dorm despite a strict no-pet policy on campus. When a bugler blew the morning “Reveille” to wake cadets, the dog began barking, earning her name and exposing the cadets. The next fall, Reveille led the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band on Kyle Field and became Texas A&M University’s official mascot.

Since Reveille I barked her way into the hearts of Aggies, nine other first ladies have followed, inspiring countless sweet, history-making and laugh-out-loud memories for those students lucky enough to serve as mascot corporals.

Reveille Through The Years

Reveille I

Reveille I (1931-44):

Stranger to None

B y all accounts, the first Reveille freely roamed campus as a friend to everyone. While the official mascot corporal tradition didn’t begin until 1960, this account of Reveille I’s time on campus was written by the late Douglas Roberson ’34 for The Battalion.

“I was a freshman in 1930 and was one of the three boys who first saw her one cold, rainy day. We took the little pup and dried and fed her. She seemed to be a cross between a German shepherd and a collie. At about 3 months of age, she was allowed to go wherever she liked on campus. When the band practiced on the drill field, she would have a fit to get out and go prance along with them. She was adopted as mascot soon after and seemed to sense her importance as she strutted all over campus.

“You would always see her on the drill field by the time ‘Reveille’ was sounded, so she was named Reveille. She roamed the campus, for she did not have any one particular friend; she was everyone’s friend. I had a couple of small jobs on campus, and she would come from most any place as I walked across the drill field and greet me briefly and then trot off to some other place. I recall an artist, Marie Haines, painted a picture of her that was housed in the library. It was so lifelike I can still see it. Reveille is in the hearts of thousands of Aggies, including myself.”

Reveille II (1952-66):

Mascot Hijinks

‘‘M ascot theft was rampant in the Southwest Conference during my time as Reveille’s handler. To protect her, I took it upon myself to elevate my role from mascot corporal to mascot security guard by keeping a .45 pistol filled with blanks under my belt during our two Corps trips that year. I wasn’t going to shoot anyone, but it certainly deterred anybody from trying to steal her!

“When I overheard rumors that Rice University students were plotting to steal Reveille one night, we decided to leave the doors to our dorm hall open. We would let them enter, and then the entire company was prepared to jump out of hiding places to scare the thieves. Fortunately, no mascot muggers came, but we were all on standby to defend her.

“Reveille was a well-mannered dog who loved to meet others and go for runs. We used to run a quarter of a mile around the track surrounding the field during football games, and I recall her leaving a pungent present behind the opposing team’s benches on more than one occasion!”

Reveille II
Reveille II
Reveille III

Reveille III (1966-75):

Mayhem at Death Valley

‘‘W hen I left Aggieland the summer after my freshman year, I was not the E-2 cadet selected to care for Reveille. The selected mascot corporal took Reveille home for the summer, as was tradition, and when fall classes began, returned her to campus. However, the cadet didn’t return to classes himself, so I stepped into the role.

“During my unexpected time as handler, we experienced an incredible win together at LSU after a 65-yard pass with 30 seconds left in the game. The stadium went crazy. This guy came up and grabbed me. He started shaking me aggressively, and I thought I was about to have to defend myself. As luck would have it, the crazed fan was actually an Aggie who had won $10,000 for betting on us to win. But even if it had been a bitter LSU fan, we had protectors watching over us. The head drum major happened to see the whole interaction. He walked up to me and asked, ‘Where is your car parked?’ After I explained that the getaway car to escape the post-game madness was three blocks away, the drum major instructed the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band to surround me and Reveille. The band then marched us down the middle of the road to ensure our safety!”

We experienced an incredible win together.

Maj. Gen. Gerald “Jake” Betty ’73 ’95
(Handler 1970 - 71)

Reveille IV (1975-84):

Dog Days of Summer

‘‘A t the end of my freshman year, I brought Reveille to my parents’ home in rural Liverpool, Texas, to begin my duties as mascot corporal that summer. She became part of our family. I let her run out in the woods and live as a normal dog, which wasn’t a common thing in the life of a mascot. She also met her match in our family’s 12-year-old miniature dachshund, Heidi, who didn’t give up any ground despite being tiny in comparison. Reveille may have been a university mascot, but in the Gruetzmacher house, Heidi called the shots.

“Reveille often relaxed with my parents while I worked a summer job at the local grocery store. She formed a close relationship with them. Whenever my parents visited campus in the years after my time as a handler, she was always quick to run up to them. I think she remembered them as the people who provided her the special chance to just be a dog one perfect summer.”

Reveille IV
Reveille IV
Reveille V

Reveille V (1984-93):

Undercover in NYC

‘‘I n fall 1988, the Aggies were set to play in the Kickoff Classic against Nebraska in New York City. At the time, it wasn’t a given that Reveille and her handler would attend every away football game, but just three weeks before kickoff, I received a call that Reveille, myself and two additional E-2 cadets would make the trip to the Big Apple.

“When our entourage landed in New York City two days before the game, we wanted to see the sights. We bought bus tickets despite knowing that pets weren’t allowed on public transportation. But in our minds, she wasn’t just a pet—she was Reveille. Our group decided to tie her long, leather leash around her to create a harness. Then I donned a pair of dark glasses to give the illusion that Reveille was a guide dog. I was so nervous as everyone was telling me to keep my cool, but our disguise worked, and we saw Manhattan with Reveille by our sides!”

Reveille VI (1993-2001):

On the Road Again

‘‘M y favorite memories with Reveille all involve traveling. During the summer I was handler, I drove more than 10,000 miles with her. At the time, the Commandant’s office gave my number to anyone who called requesting Reveille’s attendance at an event. We took a lot of pride in making sure she was accessible, so we rarely said ‘no’ to appearance requests. All summer long, I traveled the Texas A&M Mothers’ Club circuit and attended weddings and countless other events. I kept track of it all with just a paper calendar. Looking back, I think it was harder than raising three kids!

“I was never late, but I recall underestimating my time on one occasion. That fall, while driving to the Baylor game in Waco, three E-2 cadets and I hit stand-still traffic on the highway. When I realized we wouldn’t make kickoff if we stayed in the car, we got out of the truck in uniform and started walking on the side of I-35. We got equal amounts of whoops from Aggies as we did insults from Baylor fans. After walking a quarter of a mile, traffic started clearing up. A fellow Aggie let us hitch a ride in the back of his truck and raced to the stadium so we could make kickoff in the nick of time.

“One other memory involved something scarier. Unfortunately, Reveille suffered from epilepsy, and while in St. Louis, Missouri, before the 1998 Big 12 Championship Game, she went into a seizure. I rushed her to a veterinary clinic, and as soon as we knew she was going to be okay, we pleaded for a way to watch the game. On a 6-inch black-and-white television, Reveille and I watched Sirr Parker ’98 take the famous 37-yard pass to the end zone for the win. So, while she wasn’t on the sideline, Reveille still managed to watch the scoreboard for her Aggies.”

Reveille VI
Reveille VII
Reveille VII

Reveille VII (2001-08):

Table Scraps, Please!

‘‘R eveille had a hefty appetite and kept me on my toes on more than one occasion. Once, during a big outdoor festival as I was chatting with Aggies, she took advantage of my divided attention. She grabbed a whole sausage and ate it, stick and all. We took her to the vet to remove the stick, but I couldn’t believe she snatched it despite three of us cadets watching her. I’d been her handler for a week. I told my dad that we might’ve had to move to another state if things had gone south!

“Another time, at an Aggie Moms’ Club dinner, she risked it for a brisket instead of sausage. She was sound asleep at my feet, but when I stood up to wave as they announced us as guests, she sprang up on the table to eat a plate of food. It was a sight!”

She grabbed a whole sausage and ate it, stick and all!

Andrew Davis ’09 (Handler 2006-07)

Reveille VIII (2008-15):

Prime Time

‘‘I had the great privilege of serving as Reveille’s handler during the 2012 football season, the first year of our move to the Southeastern Conference. It was Johnny Manziel’s debut as quarterback, and we went 11-2 that season, a huge showing that launched Texas A&M into the national spotlight in more ways than one. Our traditions, including Reveille, became known nationwide outside of the Big 12, and as a result, I had many unique opportunities that season.

“Perhaps the most outstanding was being featured on ESPN’s College GameDay. While I was getting a haircut before football season started, I received a call from an unknown number and let it go to voicemail. I listened to the message afterward and realized I’d missed a call from Lee Corso, a lead football analyst for ESPN. I immediately called back and learned he was coming to Aggieland for College GameDay and wanted Reveille to be with him when he announced that he favored Texas A&M over Florida. On Friday before the game, ESPN shadowed us as we attended classes, explained our traditions and toured Reveille’s dorm room. We met analyst Kirk Herbstreit, appeared on live television and witnessed Texas A&M winning the ESPN commercial of the year. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

“One other momentous event involved a call I’d gotten earlier that summer asking me to come speak at an FFA leadership camp due to my prior involvement with the organization. I asked them if they minded if I brought Reveille along, and they burst out laughing. Turns out, the camp coordinators were also the caretakers of Bevo, The University of Texas mascot. So, thanks to my FFA connections, it ended up being the first time the two rival mascots met at a non-athletic event!”

Reveille VIII
Reveille IX

Reveille IX (2015-21):

Class Dismissed!

‘‘A lthough Reveille serves as the shared mascot for both main campus and Texas A&M University at Galveston, students there rarely have the chance to experience her presence. So, I was particularly excited when we had the opportunity to observe the campus’s unique culture by participating in its Howdy Week. Upon arrival, we were welcomed by the Corps Commander and a few Maroon Delegates, who provided us a campus tour and suggested concluding the visit by introducing Reveille to a class of cadets.

“As we entered the classroom, all eyes immediately focused on her. The students’ faces lit up with excitement, creating a vibrant atmosphere. It was incredible to witness the joy that a small collie could bring to a lecture hall full of students. The room erupted into cheers and applause, further energizing Reveille, who responded with a couple of enthusiastic barks. Unsure if Aggies by the Sea were aware of the tradition that class was dismissed if she barked, I was pleasantly surprised when everyone began packing up as the professor, though bewildered, honored the tradition and dismissed the class.

“One other moment stands out involving game day. Whenever Reveille put on her blanket, she knew she was the First Lady of Aggieland. She had a different demeanor about her and seemed to know she was important. One rainy game day, however, she just had no desire to put on her rain blanket, specifically made to keep her clean and dry. When I stepped onto Simpson Drill Field to begin march-in and saw a huge mud pit ahead of us and cadets sliding around, I knew it was too messy for royalty to be walking on the ground. I ended up carrying her the whole march-in, all while managing to stay in formation!”

Reveille X
Reveille X

Reveille X (2021-present):

Surprise Swim

‘‘W hen I brought Reveille to my home in Little Elm, Texas, for the summer, I knew she was smart, but I had no idea how smart. I’d seen dogs learn how to sit fast, but Reveille learned how to twirl for two shreds of cheese in no time.

“As her first handler, I witnessed many firsts, including her first time seeing a body of water. Without hesitation, she launched into my family’s backyard pool upon arriving. As a new handler, I panicked! I jumped in fully clothed, but she loved swimming and didn’t want to come out.

“Despite experiencing many of her firsts, I wasn’t the first person to run onto Kyle Field with Reveille X. Instead, she made her debut with Batie Bishop ’23, the previous and final handler for Reveille IX. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, Batie never got to run onto the field when he was mascot corporal. So instead, he ran alongside Reveille X for the Red, White and Blue game in 2021 commemorating the 20th anniversary of 9/11. It was beautiful. I teared up a bit watching him have that special moment with her.”

Statue of Reveille

Reveille Revered

T o celebrate Reveille’s important place in the annals of Texas A&M history, a bronze statue of the collie mascot was unveiled in 2023 on the north side of Kyle Field near the resting place of eight previous Reveilles. Designed by sculptors Jim Scannell and Dawn Agnew Mundell, the 6-foot-long statue depicts Reveille with one paw raised mid-stride atop a base of six circles. Arranged in an arch, the circles represent the six Aggie core values and depict the daily path of the sun through the sky, symbolizing the rising and setting of each dog’s time as mascot. “We want the artwork to be an enduring representation of this valued tradition throughout many generations,” Scannell said.

Lead donors Sonja and Neal Adams ’68 championed the statue’s creation over the last several years. Sonja, a Baylor University graduate, first came to love Reveille while dating Neal, a former Head Yell Leader and cadet. Decades later, she began the push for the statue after traveling to other schools throughout the Southeastern Conference and noticing that unlike other stadiums, Kyle Field lacked a likeness of the school’s mascot.

“We’re proud that 44 other donors joined us to assure that all Reveilles of the past, present and future will be appropriately recognized and honored by placing the statue next to their graves at Kyle Field,” the couple concluded.

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Make Your Impact

Ensure future adventures for Reveille and her handlers by giving to the Reveille Fund, which supports cadets as they care for the First Lady of Aggieland.