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Soldier, Statesman, Knightly Gentleman

The oldest Texas honor guard and drill team of its kind, the Ross Volunteer Company has created and upheld cherished Aggie traditions for more than 135 years. Travel through time to explore some of the organization's defining moments.

By Bec Morris '23

Cadets marching in formation close-up Old picture of cadets lined up in uniform


Old picture of cadets standing in formation
Sketch of General L.S. Ross

The Scott Volunteers form, their name honoring the university's business manager, Col. T.M. Scott. The following year, they perform their first public drill, honoring the visiting Texas governor and future namesake, Lawrence Sullivan “Sul” Ross, during commencement.


The first recorded Ross Volunteers Annual Hop, now called the Ross Volunteer Ball, takes place at the president’s house on campus. Ross Volunteers and their sweethearts are invited for a night of food and dancing. Leather-bound invitations include a dance card, where cadets jot down their dance partners for each song.

Old photo of the first Ross Volunteers Annual Hop


Old picture of cadets lined up in uniform

Texas A&M President Henry Hill Harrington requests the group be permanently named the Ross Volunteer Company after his father-in-law and former university president, Lawrence Sullivan Ross. The company’s name initially changed to the Ross Volunteers in Ross’ honor in 1891 before taking the names of his two presidential successors, becoming known as the Foster Guards and the Houston Rifles, respectively, prior to 1905.


Old photo of J.V. 'Pinky' Wilson Old photo of J.V. 'Pinky' WIlson with his pal

J.V. “Pinky” Wilson (Class of 1920) joins the Ross Volunteers, becoming one of only a few sophomores to ever participate due to limited campus attendance during World War I. The company traditionally consists of junior and senior cadets selected by their peers through a rigorous application and training process.

Old photo of J.V. 'Pinky' Wilson


Old photo of Miriam 'Ma' Ferguson

The Ross Volunteers escort Texas’ first female governor, Miriam “Ma” Ferguson, to her inauguration. Today, they serve as the official honor guard of the Governor of Texas and have accompanied 16 Texas governors on Inauguration Day.


For the first and only time in its history, the Ross Volunteer Company dissolves due to the university’s focus on World War II efforts and the resulting aftermath. Corps Commandant Col. Guy Meloy Jr. reactivates the company on Feb. 1, 1947.

Old photo of three small airplanes and a group of people
Close-up old photo of a soldier Old photo of soldiers with a WWII artillery piece


The Ross Volunteers attend the Mardi Gras Rex Parade in New Orleans for the first time. To this day, they serve as the official escort of His Majesty Rex, the King of Carnival, during the parade each year.

Old photo of the Mardi Gras Rex Parade in New Orleans
Old photo of the Mardi Gras Rex Parade in New Orleans Old photo of the Mardi Gras Rex Parade in New Orleans


Picture of cadets in uniform, one of which has a red sash Picture of cadets in uniform, three of which have red sashes
Picture of cadets in uniform, one of which has a red sash

Company officers don red sashes for the first time, an idea posited by Dr. Jarvis Miller ’50 to add a new layer of distinction to their all-white uniforms. Irene “Mom” Claghorn, a campus nurse who served as a mother figure to cadets, fashioned the sashes for each cadet.


The Ross Volunteers stand guard over Maj. Gen. James Earl Rudder '32 while he lies in state in the Administration Building rotunda. After accompanying the casket to Rudder’s memorial service, they fire three rifle volleys as he is buried in College Station Cemetery. The 25-member firing squad consists of seniors elected by their peers to serve in special memorials and annual Silver Taps and Muster ceremonies.

Old photo of two cadets walking with Maj. Gen. James Earl Rudder and two other people
Photo of cadets standing guard over Maj. Gen. James Earl Rudder's casket


Cadets marching at the 1981 Presidential Inaugural Parade

The Ross Volunteers march in Ronald Reagan’s Presidential Inaugural Parade at his request.


Picture of Mandy Schubert Scott and Nancy Hedgecock Miller

Mandy Schubert Scott ’87, first female deputy Corps commander, and Nancy Hedgecock Miller ’87 become the first two women to join the Ross Volunteers. Since then, women have served in all three height-based company platoons: Squat Platoon, Meatball Platoon and Tree Platoon.

Photo of Nancy Hedgecock Miller in uniform


Cadets in formation with rifles
Cadets in formation

The Ross Volunteer Association officially launches, envisioned by Lt. Gen. Jake Betty ’73, Scott Eberhart ’74 and Col. Byron Stebbins ’78 as a network for former Ross Volunteers to stay engaged with the organization.

Cadets in formation, one with a red sash


Ross Volunteers serve as honor guard for former President George H.W. Bush during his funeral, accompanying his casket to the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.

Cadets serving as honor guard for former President George H.W. Bush


Cadets in formation with rifles Cadets in formation and carrying the American and Texas flags
Cadets in formation with red sashes

With 144 current members, the company remains one of Texas’ oldest active student organizations. “In today’s society where everything is so focused on oneself, it’s a distinct privilege to be in an organization that prides itself on being humble and not boasting about the duties we perform,” said Ty Sanders ’22, current company commander. “The Ross Volunteer Company is unlike any other organization on campus, and I am extremely honored to be part of it.”

Interested in helping perpetuate this tradition of service? Learn more about how you can support the Corps of Cadets and special units like the Ross Volunteers.


Matt Jennings '95
Senior Director of Development
Texas A&M Foundation

800.392.3310 or 979.845.7604