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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Flight of the great pumpkin: Corps outfit’s Halloween tradition commemorates 50th year

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C-2’s “Flight of the Great Pumpkin” is not like the Charlie Brown story. Instead of Snoopy, Linus and Patty, C-2 celebrates with flaming torches and Halloween costumes.
Company C-2’s 50th anniversary of Flight commemorates a tradition dating back to 1964, bringing alumni and current students together as they celebrate what the juniors and seniors of C-2 have accomplished.
Juniors and seniors of C-2 earn the right to execute “Flight,” where the cadets step off at 10:31 p.m. on Halloween, said Brody Lester, engineering technology senior and member of company C-2.
“Flight really isn’t the actual event, it is kind of just the tip of the iceberg,” Lester said. “Really, it’s the accumulation of a month or so of work of the white belt classes — that’s the junior and senior classes — and it’s really just a month of adversity for them to work up to the point of being able to participate in the event.”
Flight creates a better leadership front for the outfit and reminds the white belt classes their work in C-2 is not finished yet, Lester said.
Lester said his favorite part of Flight is the outcome.
“A big mindset we have in C-2 is, ‘Through adversity is strength,’” Lester said. “When you have the white belt on in the Corps, a lot of times juniors and seniors get a pretty bad case of senioritis, and the whole process really kind of breaks you back down to freshman year.”
The process leading up to Flight unifies the juniors and seniors of C-2.
“It really does bring you closer together,” said Knox Yellin, communication and history junior and C-2 cadet.
Col. Glenn Starnes, assistant commandant, said during his junior and senior years at A&M as a cadet of C-2 — in 1979 and 1980 — Flight was more about C-2’s strong rivalry with the Aggie Band.
“The Flight of the Great Pumpkin was an opportunity to engage in action against the band and its members,” Starnes said. “The juniors and seniors of C-2 would fly around the Quad before ending up in the front of Duncan Dining Hall where the band was out in force to meet us. Our purpose was to breach their ranks, get to their dorm and run through it, then return to our dorm with the pumpkin intact on the shoulders of the junior chosen to be pumpkin.”
The task was impossible, Starnes said, as the juniors and seniors of C-2 numbered less than 20 and the band consisted of more than 300 people and the pumpkin was always destroyed. Flight was stopped for a number of years because of the violent nature of the confrontation between the band and C-2.
“The tradition now occurs without any band involvement and is based more on bringing the junior and senior classes of C-2 together, to strengthen their bond as a cadet group,” Starnes said. “It is tradition based on heritage and the idea of C-2 as a family.”
This year’s event will likely be the largest Flight C-2 has ever had, Yellin said. He said it was a great way to kick off a Halloween night and people can expect to be entertained.
“It’s going to be pretty crazy,” Yellin said. “There are giant torches, a giant pumpkin, people dressed up running around doing all this crazy stuff. Seeing the alumni come out and all the former C-2 guys — that it is really important to our outfit. It is rooted in a lot of history.”
Starnes said he looks forward to a fun night of people decked out in costumes and cheering in hopes of receiving candy as the pumpkin travels around the Quad.
“The event provides an opportunity to add to the festival of Halloween on the Quad just as the Charlie Brown cartoon, ‘The Great Pumpkin,’ has added to the tradition of Halloween on TV for many, many years,” Starnes said. “It is good fun without going to the excess.”
“Flight of the Great Pumpkin” is open to all students.

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