Mia Miller’s Final Review
One year ago, for perhaps the first time in the history of the Reveille tradition, there was more attention paid to the person holding the leash than Reveille herself.
That’s because one year ago, Mia Miller became the first female member of the Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets to hold the prestigious tradition of mascot corporal.
Miller’s historic year as the first woman to serve as Reveille’s primary caretaker in the Texas A&M University Corps of Cadets will come to an end this week at Family Weekend when she passes on her duties to the new mascot corporal in Company E-2, but her days as a leader and a visible campus figure are far from over.
Becoming mascot corporal
Long before Miller wanted to be Reveille’s handler, she wanted to be a Marine. In fact, becoming a member of the Corps of Cadets was an afterthought.
Miller received a Marine Corps ROTC scholarship, and one of the core requirements was that she enroll at a university with an ROTC program. That limited her choices to Texas Tech University where her parents went to school, Rice University and Texas A&M.
Although her parents were avid Raiders, family friends who were Aggies led her to enroll in Texas A&M.
“I had no idea what the Corps of Cadets was until about a month or two before school started,” she said.
It wasn’t until her military advisor recommended Company E-2, the Corps outfit tasked with caring for Reveille, the university mascot and the highest ranking member of the Corps of Cadets, that she jumped into Corps life with both feet.
“It sounds like mascot company is probably more focused on school spirit and I’m more focused on grades and working out,” Miller said. “But then she said ‘I think this will be a really good challenge for you to take on.’”
Miller and her fellow E-2 cadets were able to apply to be mascot corporal during the second semester of their freshman year. The audition process required weeks of studying the history of Reveille, practice speeches and essays. At the end of the audition process, Reveille’s handler is selected by fellow members of Company E-2, meaning she would have the full faith and trust of her peers to care for Reveille for a year.
During Family Weekend in 2018, Miller was announced as Reveille IX’s handler for 2018-2019, making Corps of Cadets history by becoming the first woman to hold the position.
“In the Corps one of the things we like to say is that we select the very best to be our leaders and to be the representatives of the Corps,” Corps of Cadets Commandant Gen. Joe Ramirez said. “Whether you’re male or female is irrelevant, and Mia is a classic example of that. She was selected because of her leadership abilities, her academic abilities and her Corps leadership abilities to be Reveille’s handler. The fact she was the first female handler just made it that much more special.”
Although the news made headlines around the state, the moment didn’t sink in until much later when she ran out onto Kyle Field for the first time.
“You really don’t understand the gravity of the situation until you’re part of it and with Reveille in front of 100,000 people in football stadiums,” Miller said. “Just knowing those people thought highly enough of you to trust you with the mascot of the university is a super cool feeling.”
Life with Reveille IX
Miller begins every day at 5:15 a.m. when she gets out of bed to feed Reveille IX before heading out to the Quad and standing in formation with the rest of the Corps, with Miller, Reveille IX and Company E-2 at the head.
Then, Miller and Reveille IX head to Duncan Dining hall for breakfast, and then a day of classes and the occasional meeting or event where their presence is requested. Being part of the Reveille tradition means taking time for Aggies to see Reveille IX and take pictures with her as she traverses campus.
Miller said that as Reveille IX’s handler, she has to plan for an extra 20-30 minutes to get to each class because of all the attention. The constant starting, stopping, advance planning and adapting in response to the frequent photo opportunities changed Miller’s outlook on life.
“The biggest lessons I’ve learned with Reveille are being personable and being patient,” Miller said, “You’ll be having a hard day and you’re walking with Reveille and you forget what a privilege it is to be with her and someone walks up to her and starts freaking out because they’re seeing the mascot for Texas A&M for the first time. You immediately go from ‘Aw, I’m having a bad day’ to ‘Wow I really need to have this person have a good experience with Reveille because it might be the last time they ever see her.’”
Miller’s time as Reveille IX’s handler wasn’t without its somber experiences.
Last year, former mascot Reveille VIII, who served as the university’s mascot from 2008-2015, passed away at age 12. She was buried in Kyle Field Plaza alongside the seven previous Reveille mascots. Each of Reveille VIII’s previous handlers and scores of Aggies attended the funeral service.
“It’s not easy,” Ramirez said. “A mascot handler is called upon to do a lot of things throughout the school year. There are a lot of demands on your time and a lot of demands on your demeanor and she handled it extremely well.”
Media contact: Sam Peshek, firstname.lastname@example.org