Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band Memorabilia Discovered
Nearly 30 years ago, a bronze plaque was mounted on the west side of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band drill field behind Dorm 11 in honor of Col. Joe T. Haney ’48, the former band director for whom the field was renamed in 1992.
Thousands of Aggies have used the Haney Drill Field since then. Renovations that began last spring included the construction of a brick plaza with a commemorative monument at the 50 yard line honoring those students. The 1992 plaque was also to be moved from the drill field to the new plaza.
When a grounds worker began to use a cutting torch on the pole supporting the plaque, he realized something other than metal was burning.
Upon closer inspection, James Barnes, landscape manager for SSC Service Solutions, found a plastic bag. Inside it, there was program for the 1992 renaming ceremony for the field, a newspaper article about the event, and the name tags of five members of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band: Travis Burleson ‘92, James Crook, Jr. ‘92, Robert Givens ‘92, Mark Lane ‘92 and Joe Gamertsfelder ‘92.
Barnes turned the contents of the “time-capsule” over to Mike Teal ‘96, grounds manager for SSC Grounds at Texas A&M University.
“I wanted to make sure that the time capsule was returned so that there was a record of the students who left it to commemorate their time in the Corps and the dedication of Haney Drill Field,” Barnes said.
Brig. Gen. Joe E. Ramirez Jr. ‘79, commandant of the Corps of Cadets, said the discovery of the decades-old items during the renovations came as a surprise.
“I appreciate the care and concern SSC took to preserve these items for us so that we could preserve and display them as a visual reminder of that special day in 1992 when the Haney Drill Field was first dedicated,” Ramirez said.
Haney directed the band from 1973-1989. Travis Burleson, who was executive officer for A-Company in 1992, spearheaded the effort to rename the Aggie Band Drill Field the Joe T. Haney Drill Field to celebrate and recognize Haney’s contributions to the Aggie Band and Texas A&M.
A renaming ceremony celebrated the former student, faculty member and beloved director of the Aggie Band. The event included remarks from then-Texas A&M President William H. Mobley and a performance by the band.
Following the dedication of the drill field, the five seniors decided to place some of the items they had with them inside the pole supporting the plaque.
“When you thought about the band, you thought about Col. Haney,” said Joe Gamertsfelder, who was the Combined Band drum major that year. “We respected him and wanted to honor him in any way we could with what we had at the time.”
The former cadets never expected their items would be found nearly 30 years later. To them, the items they had placed in the pole were a small way of showing their appreciation to Haney before their time at Texas A&M ended.
“This finding shows the long lineage of Aggies respecting traditions and those who came before them,” Gamertsfelder said. “I hope this story inspires Aggies to continue respecting others, because that’s what makes us different.”
Media contact: Amy Thompson, firstname.lastname@example.org