Back in Old Army days, Texas A&M University’s RELLIS Campus served more than one purpose. During World War II, it was an Army Air Corps airfield. At the end of World War II, the college experienced a surge of incoming students and could not accommodate housing and classroom space for such a large number. The G.I. Bill and former students’ positive testimonials contributed to this drastic increase in enrollment. In 1946, the extreme shortage of housing and classroom space led the administration to lease the deactivated Bryan Army Air Field’s facilities. Freshmen cadets were sent to the site to spend their first year at what became “The Annex,” known today as RELLIS. It became the first home for Aggies in the Classes of 1950 to 1953.
In total, more than 5,500 Aggies occupied the single-story, tarpaper barracks before transferring to the main campus to complete their tenure at Texas A&M. Each barracks housed 20 students, lacked air conditioning and featured shared bathroom facilities; a single mess hall provided space for meals. During its existence, The Annex produced more than 4,000 military officers, 18 distinguished alumni, 28 general officers, seven presidents of The Association of Former Students and two regents for The Texas A&M University System. Its current name stands for the university’s six core values: respect, excellence, leadership, loyalty, integrity and selfless service. A plaque on the RELLIS Campus details the site’s history and honors all Aggies who lived there.
Here are five Aggie stories about life at The Annex.