The story of Muster

The Story of Muster: Texas A&M’s Most Solemn Event

Aggie Muster airs live on KAMU-TV and KAMU-FM April 21 at 7 p.m. and streams live online.

“Softly call the Muster, let comrade answer ‘Here’…”

Each year on April 21, Aggies continue Texas A&M’s most solemn tradition: Aggie Muster. In this custom that is more than a century old, hundreds of Muster ceremonies take place around the world each year, honoring Aggies who have passed. But the largest ceremony — attended by thousands — is always held on campus. As the public broadcasting station for Texas A&M University, KAMU is proud to once again bring Campus Muster to Aggies worldwide.

While Muster is a time for all Aggies to unite, all members of our Brazos Valley community are welcome to participate via our live TV airing and online livestream. Read on to learn more about Aggie Muster and KAMU’s involvement with the solemn event.

  1. What is Muster?
  2. Why April 21?
  3. Why is it called Muster?
  4. What do people say after each name is read?
  5. What are the most famous Musters?
  6. KAMU’s university service

What is Muster?

Texas A&M may change, but the Aggie Spirit never will. Muster is a chance for Aggies to gather in their local communities — in places like Chicago, San Francisco, New Orleans, Japan, Norway, France and many more. This year, that list even includes a cruise ship traveling from Miami to Seattle. Aggies enjoy camaraderie and reminisce at each Muster before reading the names of those from that area who died in the past year.

On campus, Muster is held at Reed Arena, the largest indoor gathering space in the Brazos Valley. A keynote speaker is chosen to speak to the gathered Aggies and the 50-year reunion class is honored. About 150 names will be read followed by a special arrangement of “Taps” and rifle volleys fired by the Ross Volunteers.

Why April 21?

Statewide, April 21 is known as San Jacinto Day. It’s a celebration of the Battle of San Jacinto, when Texas won its independence from Mexico.

The day has been special for Aggies since the earliest years of the university. It was a school holiday when the college began and later was marked by battle re-enactments and student field days.

Separately, early alumni organizations had been pausing at their annual June meetings to honor Aggies who had passed away. Eventually, these two traditions merged into one event on April 21. These events spread across the U.S. and elsewhere starting in the 1910s.

Why is it called Muster?

The term muster comes from the military. It’s the process or event of accounting for each member of a military unit. During a roll call, the names of each member are called to determine who is present.

What do people say after each name is read?

In a typical roll call, when a person hears their name, they answer “here.” But Muster roll calls honor Aggies who have passed. To show that each passed Aggie is present in spirit, the audience will answer “here” as each name is called. Those answering “here” can include a friend, family member or classmate. Regardless, no Aggie will pass without someone saying “here” for them.

What are the most famous Musters?

The two most famous Muster ceremonies happened in the Philippines — one during World War II and the other shortly after it ended.

In 1942, America’s last stronghold in the area was the small island of Corregidor. On April 21, with Japanese forces constantly attacking, Brig. Gen. George F. Moore, class of 1908, asked Maj. Tom Dooley ’35 for a list of Aggies fighting on the island.

The legend grew once a reporter sent the story back to the states. Historians say it’s highly unlikely the Aggies were able to physically gather in the midst of the fighting, but the reporter’s story of the soldiers yelling, singing and honoring fallen Aggies encouraged the nation.

Most of those Aggies died or were taken prisoner. However, their lives would be honored four years later.

By April 21, 1946, the war was over and the Philippines had been freed from Japanese occupation. More than 100 Aggies traveled from their posts to Corregidor to honor their fallen classmates. They made an improvised Aggie flag out of a bed sheet and sat for perhaps the most famous photo ever taken of Aggies.

Read more about the Aggies of Corregidor

Aggies gather on Corregidor in famous 1946 Muster photo.
(James T. Danklefs ’43)

On Corregidor today, there’s a permanent memorial to the Aggies who defended the island.

KAMU’s university service

KAMU first filmed Campus Muster in 1988. In the years since, we’ve recorded nearly every ceremony and offer DVDs, Blu-Rays and USB Flash Drives of each one we’ve filmed. For several years, we also uploaded recordings to a server for use by Aggie clubs.

For those in the Brazos Valley community who can’t make it to campus, we’ve presented a live broadcast of the event for many years, including every year since 2009. Catch the broadcast live at 7 p.m. on April 21 no matter your TV provider.

View our TV channel guide

In recent years, KAMU has provided a livestream of Campus Muster, too. That became even more important when campus and the world shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic.

2023’s ceremony will be the second fully in-person event since then. But KAMU will continue to offer a livestream for Aggies around the world to join in the solemn event.

Stream Aggie Muster

This year, KAMU-FM is also broadcasting the ceremony live on the radio. Listen at 7 p.m. on April 21 on 90.9 KAMU-FM or listen live online from any phone, tablet, computer or smart speaker.

We are proud to continue serving our university community in this way each year.


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