Seoul, South Korea
In December 1998, I attended the Big 12 Championship Game in St. Louis, Missouri, a game that Texas A&M won in double overtime. It was one of the greatest football games I ever attended. Early the next morning, I caught a flight to Seoul, South Korea. Upon arriving, I was standing in line to catch a bus to my hotel when a fellow Aggie saw my hat and approached me. He asked if I had seen the game, which had only finished about 20 hours earlier. With a big smile, I told him I had actually been there! We had a great conversation.
Jeff Lansman ’90
Flying into Karachi, Pakistan, I saw a well-worn Aggie ring on a gentleman as we disembarked. I told him I liked his ring as I held up my hand. Because he was a communications officer for the CIA, he had a diplomatic passport and waved me through the mass of people at customs. A car met him, and I went with them to my hotel. I never saw him again, but I sure appreciated the help!
Peter Balinas ’78
I once vacationed in the Czech Republic while trying to uncover more about my paternal grandfather’s ancestry. When my wife and I arrived in Prague, we had a difficult time making out the Czech city signs and could not understand how to get to our hotel. In a business section of town, as I was walking along hoping to find someone who could help with directions, a stranger parked nearby recognized my ring and asked if I was an Aggie. Turns out he was a Czech native, and his wife was an Aggie graduate who worked for the U.S. consulate in Prague. He was picking up his daughters from piano lessons and told us he would lead us to our hotel. We enjoyed a meal with their family and got an invitation to the consulate’s Christmas party!
Jimmy Beresky Jr. ’72
I worked as a drilling supervisor in the Sahara Desert in southern Tunisia. I was sitting in the departure area before boarding a flight to Tunis, Tunisia, when a gentleman walked up and asked about my Aggie ring. He had been invited years ago by the American ambassador to Tunisia to apply for an agricultural scholarship competition where winners would attend U.S. agricultural colleges. He and another Tunisian student were assigned to Texas A&M, and he returned to Tunisia after earning his degree in agricultural economics. He said he kept his Aggie ring in a safe because it was too valuable to wear. We enjoyed a wonderful chat about our respective days in Aggieland!
William “Bill” Green ’79
Trophy Club, Texas
Tower of London
In July 1985, I was touring the Tower of London as a young, single graduate student. I was admiring the history and the incredible architecture when I noticed a gentleman next to me whose ring caught my eye. I just had to ask if it was an Aggie ring! My memory of his name has faded, but the Texas-sized smile across his face and the instant friendship will forever be imprinted in my brain. That flat-out made my day, my week and my vacation. It’s happened time and time again, but that was my most memorable experience as I was far away from home and just beginning to really understand how much the Aggie ring binds former students around the world.
Beth Castenson McQueen ’83 ’85
Back in spring 1995, my husband and I were dining in a tiny trattoria in Florence, Italy. A couple walked past us, then backed up and asked, “What year are y’all?” They had noticed our Aggie rings. Too cool!
Sue ’91 and Robert Lombardi ’91
Whidbey Island, Washington
In June 2011, my wife Judy and I were waiting at Sea-Tac Airport for the shuttle to Whidbey Island, Washington, to attend a wedding. I saw an Aggie sitting near us and asked him for his class year. He was Ron Thomasson ’61. We and our wives talked at length during the two-hour trip and still correspond to this day!
Michael Smith ’71
I never met so many Aggies as I did in remote corners of Vietnam—Kon Tum, Dong Ha and Da Nang—during the Vietnam War. And they were almost all commanders.
Dr. Andrew Tijerina ’67
I was in London, looking through the fence at Buckingham Palace, when I noticed a guy wearing an Aggie ring next to me. Upon introducing myself, I learned he was also in the Class of 1950!
G. Ray Robertson ’50
Nepal and London
I met a fellow Aggie in Chitwan National Park in Nepal and a Singing Cadet in the elevator lobby in Harrods Department Store in London.
William “Bill” Ouren ’74
College Station, Texas
In Glenallen, Alaska, at a remote clinic where I was stitching a patient’s face after a snow machine injury. We discovered we were both Aggies while chatting—he was surprised when I “whooped” at him!
Michelle Nicely ’85
Johnston, Rhode Island
In a corn maze in Johnston, Rhode Island!
Kathleen Frankovich ’83
Narragansett, Rhode Island
Hiking in Ireland!
Stacy Mohr ’86
In the rainforest in Costa Rica!
Pamela Overmyer ’92 ’96
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
On a pickleball court in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. It was a group play format, and we won!
Claude Roberts '83
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Panama Canal Zone
The most unexpected place I met a fellow Aggie was Albrook Air Force Base in the Panama Canal Zone. I had been in the Air Force a little over two and a half years when I was sent by Headquarters Air Training Command to Albrook on temporary duty in March 1971. I was the youngest of about six officers in the team, and we stayed at the visiting officers’ quarters on the base. On our first evening there, we went to the officers’ club for dinner and afterwards gravitated to the bar for drinks. I spotted a pinball machine in the corner and made a beeline for it. There was another guy playing the pinball machine next to me, but I didn't pay any attention to him as I walked up. At some point, however, I looked over and recognized the other player as John Tyson ’67. John had been commander of Squadron 11 his senior year while I was first sergeant of Squadron 9, when our units shared the same dorm. He was a member of the Ross Volunteers and so was I, but a year behind him. We were not close friends at Texas A&M, just acquaintances. But suddenly in the middle of the Panamanian jungle we were good buddies. He later took me on a tour of the nearby canal and one night he had the whole command team over to his quarters for a spaghetti dinner, courtesy of he and his girlfriend. Tyson treated me like a long-lost brother during my four-day stay in Panama.
Lt. Col. (Ret.) Michael Hoffman ’68
Hickam Air Base
I graduated in 1968 and was a first lieutenant at Hickam Air Base in Honolulu in 1971 when The Association of Former Students asked all Aggies in that area to attend a free dinner for them and their spouses sponsored by the traveling group of Aggies who were there on vacation. My wife and I went, and during the discussions at our table I introduced myself to the distinguished gentleman next to me. I almost fell out of my chair when he said his name: “King Gill.” I could hardly speak and felt like I had won the lottery! What an honor and one I will never forget.
Lt. Col. (Ret.) Elvon Miller ’68
San Antonio, Texas
Panama City, Panama
Visiting my wife’s family in Panama City, Panama, we went to a Christmas party hosted by a couple in their church. As we walked up the driveway, I saw a Century Club sticker on their car. It turns out we had many mutual Aggie friends.
Gregory Gorman ’89
While in the Army, I had gone home from Vietnam on emergency leave in 1966. Upon returning, I landed at Tan Son Nhut Air Base, which housed temporary quarters for military personnel entering or leaving Vietnam at Camp Alpha. I was assigned a particular bunk in a certain area. There were hundreds of bunks at Camp Alpha. When I got to my assigned bunk, which was a double decker, I saw a duffel bag on the lower bunk with the name R. David Smith ’64, who happened to be my roommate and very close friend from Texas A&M. I located him in the mess hall. We had not seen each other or communicated since I graduated from Texas A&M in May 1964.
Glen A. James ’64
Working for an American-Kuwaiti contractor, I was assigned to assist in the rebuilding of crude gathering centers in North Kuwait near the Iraqi border in the early 1980s. The gathering centers were destroyed by Iran as retribution for support given by Kuwait to Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War. Our general contractor was Lebanese, but he employed many Palestinian engineers and supervisors. At the kickoff meeting, I sat across the table from a Palestinian civil engineer wearing his Aggie ring. Wearing my ring, I made immediate eye contact with him, and we become colleagues and good friends on this remote camp job in the northern Kuwait desert.
Douglas Schwab ’81
In summer 2008, I was in Madrid, Spain, so I wanted to watch a bullfight for the cultural experience before heading back to Texas. I picked the mounted fight, where the bullfighting happens on horseback. In a stadium full of Spanish fans, I was speaking to my husband in English when I heard, “Are you an Aggie?” I turned to see two young ladies who it turned out were on a trip celebrating getting their bachelor’s degrees from that other university down the road. But she saw my Aggie ring and knew that I belonged to her home state. We are recognized by our rivals as well! We struck up a conversation about Spain and the cultural experiences we were having. She even laughed when I told her that according to the program, this Bevo would be feeding a local orphanage!
Kristin Luthringer Schaefer ’01
I graduated in spring 1965 and received a draft notice for the Vietnam War a month later. Taking my dad’s advice, I went to naval recruiter and was shortly on my way to naval training in San Diego. After completion, I was sent to Treasure Island in the San Francisco Bay to await my duty assignment. One day, I decided to go sightseeing in San Francisco and got on a trolley to visit Fisherman’s Wharf. It so happened that the trolley I was on stopped, and a second one going the opposite direction pulled up next to mine and stopped. Directly in front of me was an acquaintance from Texas A&M! We greeted each other, shook hands and exchanged what we both were doing in San Francisco before each trolley pulled off in opposite directions.
Eldon “Beck” Knox ’63
Brooke Army Medical Center
My wife had taken me to the emergency room of Brooke Army Medical Center because I was having some chest pains. As I lay on the bed with electrodes attached, a doctor came over and asked how I was doing. I looked at his nametag, which read “Crockett.” I also noticed his Aggie ring. I told him I had been a Fish buddy with a Bill Crockett in A-Chemical Company in 1957, and he said that was his dad!
Lt. Col. John Schmidt ’62
Hot Springs Village, Arkansas
I met a fellow Aggie in a motorboat in the Black Sea off the coast of !
Bill Stuckert ’55
Alaska’s Inside Passage
While on a cruise in Alaska’s Inside Passage.
Mark Browning ’88
College Station, Texas
Olympic National Park, Washington
While hiking to Sol Duc Falls in Olympic National Park in Washington, I saw a fellow with a cadet shirt on and yelled, “Gig ’em!” He looked up in surprise, and we chatted for a few minutes before heading opposite directions.
Devanee Chapman ’05
Saint Andrew’s Old Course, Scotland
While visiting a bar overlooking Saint Andrew’s Old Course in Scotland. The owner was an Aggie!
Col. (USAF Ret.) Trisha Torres ’91
On the Ponte Vecchio, an old bridge over the Arno River in Florence, Italy, while on vacation in 2009.
Robert Vacek ’71
Sugar Land, Texas
My son graduated from West Point in 2007, and I asked if he wanted to take a trip before he had to report for duty. He was an Arabic language major and wanted to go to an Arabic speaking country. Tunisia was about the only place he could get permission to travel to, so we embarked on a trip to Tunis.
One day we went sightseeing in Carthage and somehow found out about a museum that might be interesting. It was during the week, and we walked up to the top of a hill where it was located. The location almost looked deserted around mid-morning. Upon entering the end of the parking lot, which was completely empty, we started walking up the sidewalk leading to the entrance. About halfway, I didn’t even pay attention while a van pulled up and parked just as we walked past.
Very shortly, I heard “Excuse me, is that an Aggie ring you’re wearing?” I hadn’t heard a word of English in days, so I was a little surprised just at the words! I looked back dumbfounded and saw several people piling out of the van. “Excuse me?” I said. He repeated his question.
It turns out they were students doing a work-study program in Tunisia. I spent the next several minutes amazed that in Carthage, with virtually no people within miles, I had met Aggies thousands of miles from home. On top of that, a day or two later back in the crowded city of Tunis, we ran into a couple of them again!
To this day I’m still amazed.
David Decker ’78
College Station, Texas
Mount Tangkuban Parahu, Indonesia
The most unexpected place I met a fellow Aggie was while climbing into a volcano in Indonesia. My wife, Jean ’88, and I were celebrating a second honeymoon in the capital city of Jakarta in early 1992, and we decided to take a day trip to climb Mount Tangkuban Parahu, which is a smoldering volcano about 100 miles to the southeast.
As we were hiking down to one of the craters, we met a couple our age who were also exploring Indonesia. All four of us were blown away upon learning that we were all Aggies. But what’s even more amazing is the guy was wearing a t-shirt from a bar from my wife’s hometown of Longview, Texas, and he knew someone who knew my wife’s older sister!
Dan Harris ’84
In 2005, my wife and I traveled to New Zealand. While on the ocean ferry traveling from the North to the South Island, I had settled in with a new book for the 4-hour ride. After an hour or so, I felt someone stop next to me. I looked up and this man said, “Is that an Aggie ring?” I said yes, we introduced ourselves and had a wonderful conversation on all things Texas A&M for the next hour.
Michael Nowotny ’76
Finland, Kauai, and the Great Barrier Reef
I’ve met fellow Aggies on a small island off the coast of Finland as well as during a sunrise entry into the port of Kauai, Hawaii. Aggie rings don’t go unnoticed! And my Texas A&M t-shirt once prompted a conversation with an Aggie medical school graduate aboard a dive boat off tiny Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef. The physician not only remembered my college roommate and doctor friend back in Texas, but they had also been lab mates!
Karen Arrington Jordan ’76
Farmington, New Mexico
While sitting in Paris, France, at the Hard Rock Café for dinner, an individual walked by me and casually asked, “What year?” I said, “Excuse me?” He said again, “What year did you graduate from Texas A&M?” Almost 5,000 miles away from College Station and someone recognized my ring—it’s a small world when you belong to the elite club of Texas A&M former students!
Wyllys “Taylor” Cooper ’89
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