College Station, Tex., April 21. AP - Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower
said today leaders trained by the reserve officers training program are "one of
the great hopes of this nation - of civilization itself," and called for their continued
support "if war should again come to us."
The army chief of staff spoke before 10,000 Texas A&M College ex-students
and visitors at Kyle stadium gathered at an annual San Jacinto Day muster to honor
the school's 748 war dead.
"The nation's war needs in officers - if war should again come to
us - can not possible [sic - possibly] be met without the ROTC," the Texas
born general declared.
"No regular establishment can meet the requirements in numbers,"
he said. "Shorter, emergency periods of training, although effective in the rapid
selection and specialized combat training of promising material, can not possibly
provide the opportunity of full development of the promise into rounded, understanding
The general's famous smile was missing as he said:
"This visit to Texas A&M allows me to pay at least a first installment
on two debts, both of them long overdue.
"One is to acknowledge, in this Easter morning ceremony, the magnificent
contributions made by your college in gaining of the allied victory of 1945.
"The other is to pay tribute, through this largest of all ROTC units,
to the outstanding, even vital, role played by the entire ROTC system in that bitter
The figure of 7000 officers furnished during the war by A&M, far
more than any other college, speaks "more eloquent than words" of the school's vital
role in world war II.
He paid solemn tribute to the Aggies who died in battle - 695 in
the last conflict and 52 in world war I; to the six medal of honor winners - four
won posthumously - and the 46 aggies who took part in the defense of Battaan [sic
- Bataan] and Corregidor.
"I can feel only a lasting admiration for the Texas A&M ROTC," he
declared. "This admiration extends to the individual as well as the army that produced
Gov. Coke R. Stevenson of Texas was seated with Eisenhower on the
speaker's platform along with six Texas congressmen who accompanied him from Washington
and 14 generals who received honorary degrees from the college last night.
Aggie war veterans also participated in the ceremony.
Col. Olin E. Teague of College Station limped to the microphone
- one foot still in a cast from a wound suffered on the Siegfried line.
"Gen. Ike has been honored in many ways be many countries but the
greatest honor is the love, respect and faith the GIs of our army gave him," he
Lt. Col. Tom Dooley of McKinney, who led the Aggie muster on Corregidor
April 21, 1942, also was present. Quietly this year, and reverently," he said, "we
meet in prayer." Dooley is aide to Gen. Jonathan Wainwright.
"Today the Texas Aggies are meeting in all parts of the world,"
said Lt. Col. William A. Becker of Kaufman, muster chairman. "We are here to honor
our friends, those men who gave their lives in the military service of their country."
Gen. Eisenhower came here last night after visiting his birthplace
in Denison, Tex., to receive an honorary doctor of laws degree and to participate
in the memorial muster.
The five-star army commander told the group today that fine leadership
can produce teamwork "necessary to the peaceful concert of peoples."
"It is the commander who shares, naturally and unpretentiously,...
the confidence of his men,... every turn of fortune,... takes no thought of himself
until all of his men have been accommodated, ... learns from them as much as he
can teach ... expresses his pride of belonging to the whole, that invariably gains
for himself the greatest reward that can come to any man.
"This reward is the respect, esteem and love of his associates,"
he said. "It is this type of officer that the ROTC must develop. It can not be done
in days or weeks - it requires months of training, of study, of reflection.
"The graduate of ROTC must acquire in his makeup the elements of
mental and moral fitness, the desire to help and inspire his fellows, that will
mark him for leadership in any community in this land. If he is truly trained, he
will be the man to rely on - the one to respect - in danger or in calm.
"He is one of the great hopes of this nation - of civilization itself."
Following the Eisenhower address, Dr. John Ahston [sic - Ashton]
of the college gave the traditional roll call of the absent.
"Softly call the muster, let this comrade answer 'Here," he read
from a poem.
Then he called four names as symbolic of an entire roll call of
war dead. All won the medal of honor posthumously. They were Lt. Thomas W. Fowler,
Wichita Falls; Lt. Lloyd H. Hughes, Corpus Christi; S-Sgt. George D. Keathley, Lamesa,
and Lt. Turney W. Leonard, Dallas.
As he called each name comrades seated in the stadium answered,
Becker turned to John W. Newton of Beaumont. "Sir, the 1946 muster
of the Aggie Fraternity at College Station, Tex., is completed," he said.
Newton then dismissed the muster until April 21, 1947.
As Gen. Eisenhower walked from the platform he was surrounded by
autograph fans and Texas friends who wanted to shake his hand.
Yesterday ex-students held department reunions and attended a party
in Sbisa Hall after the convocation. Today's ceremony terminated three days of the
A&M victory homecoming and memorial muster.
Source: Personal papers.
Newspaper article from Page 5 of The Galveston News, Galveston, Galveston County, Texas,
USA, dated 22 Apr 1946.