Before the Aggies, Reveille and the maroon and white, Texas A&M College had different mascots and colors. During the early football games, A&M College was known as the Farmers, a title that has continued in lesser capacity in yells, songs and merchandise as a nod to the agricultural academic origins. Early yell books have the Farmers claiming the lion as a mascot and red and white as the school colors. After World War I, "Farmers" and "Aggies" were used interchangeably in newspaper headlines. There was even a campaign to change it to the "Wildcats" during the 1920 to 1921 academic year, according to a 1921 Battalion article. The Wildcats did not prevail and red was traded for maroon.
The Corps adopted Reveille in 1931, but there have been several unofficial mascots and campus pets.
There were several candidates for Reveille's successor. Rusty, a black and white mutt, was given to the Corps by a veteran in 1946, because she resembled the former First Lady of Aggieland. But that was where the similarity stopped. A&M was looking for Rusty to embody Reveille's enthusiasm and march in front of the band, according to a June 1946 Eagle article. But Rusty was too afraid of the Kyle Field game-day sounds and never made her promised debut, according to Reveille: First Lady of Texas A&M by Rusty and Vannessa Burson.
Freckles took over what was supposed to be Rusty's privileges during the 1946 football season. The cocker spaniel belonged to Hal Mullins, class of 1948 and a member of the Aggie Band, according to a 1986 Battalion article. During the game against Arkansas, Freckles ran onto the football field during the band's halftime performance. She lived in the dorms with Mullins, roamed campus and attended classes, just like Reveille did. However, when Mullins graduated, so did Freckles. He said she would not be happy unless she was with him, according to Reveille: First Lady of Texas A&M.
In 1948, a male Dalmatian named Spot took over mascot duty when Freckles left College Station. Spot was known to chase girls, fall asleep in class, review the Corps and visit the mess halls, according to a 1950 Battalion article. He would get so wrapped up in the all the activity at Kyle Field that he fell out of the stands and broke his front paws. He recovered, but Spot died from injuries when a car hit him in 1950.
Ranger II: 1959-1965
Ranger II was an English bulldog who belonged to the Rudder family. A&M President James Earl Rudder, class of 1932, became president in 1959. Students were prone to painting messages with shoe polish on Ranger's sides, according to a November 1965 Battalion article. Messages were often "Beat the hell outta TU" or some other opponent the week of an athletic event. Ranger's favorite pastime was hitchhiking, according to the Battalion article. He would run out in front of cars and force the driver to stop and let him in the car.
Ranger died in December 1965 after surgery to treat a kidney infection, according to a Battalion article notifying students. He was buried in front of the President's House across from Duncan Field, so he could have a view of Bonfire every year, back when it was on Duncan Field. His grave on Throckmorton Street is still roped off and marked with a headstone. A dog bowl, collar and bone rest on his grave.
Ol' Sarge: 1930s to present day
The drill sergeant still gracing some Aggie merchandise was first a cartoon character in the 1930s. Howard "Pete" Tumlinson, class of 1942, gave the character a name: Magarkin, an ex-con sentenced to A&M because he was considered "too tough" for Alcatraz, according to a June 2008 article in The Battalion. In 1939, Tumlinson gave Magarkin a sidekick, Fish Blotto, who depicted the day-to-day life of a freshman in the Corps, according to a November 1988 Houston Chronicle article. Other student illustrators would continue drawing comic strips with the Ol' Sarge character in The Battalion and Aggieland yearbooks.
Tumlinson went on to be a comic book artist in the 1940s and '50s for companies that would later become known as Marvel Comics. He covered several genres in the 1940s and '50s, including outlaw Westerns, horror, war and biblical. During the mid-1950s, he shifted to book illustrations. He died in Caldwell in 2008.
In 1987, football coach Jackie Sherrill initiated the creation of an Ol' Sarge mascot costume for a student to wear outside Kyle Field and on the alumni side of the stadium during games. The costume was not well received by the student body. Cadets called for the costume to be destroyed, according to a December 1987 Battalion article.
Cadet Slouch: 1953-1985
James H. "Jim" Earle, class of 1955, is the creator of the "Cadet Slouch" comic strip that ran in The Battalion for 32 years. The point of the comic strip was to make light of campus life and even serious issues that arose, like going coed, according to Keepers of the Spirit by John A. Adams Jr. "Slouch was accepted as a spokesman for the student body by pointing out the humor in current situations in which we were all involved as students," Earle said in Texas A&M University: A Pictorial History, 1876-1996 by Henry Dethloff. Earle continued the cartoon after graduating and returned as a member of the faculty in 1957 to teach engineering design graphics at A&M. Eventually, he rose to head the department and taught for 38 years by the time he retired. More than 5,000 cartoons later, Earle decided to give Cadet Slouch a rest. He published at least four anthologies and books of the Cadet Slouch comic strip.
• Slouch vs A&M (1954)
• We Is the Aggies (1955)
• Struggles of Slouch (1956)
• How to Flunk with Cadet Slouch: 12 Ways to Flunk (1960)
— Compiled by Claire Heathman