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The Battalion

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From Corps rivalry to unifying tradition

Flight+of+the+Pumpkin
Photo by Photo By: Mason Morgan
Flight of the Pumpkin

“The Great Pumpkin is coming!” chanted members of the Corps of Cadets Company C-2 through masks and face paint Friday night. They ran around, darting this way and that way, giving candy to the crowd gathered in Centennial Park. They led the crowd to a starting point, where Company C-2 upperclassmen readied their torches with pumpkins in hand.
The scene has been repeated year after year and is known as The Flight of the Great Pumpkin, or “Flight” as it’s known to cadets. The festivities include Company C-2 cadets removing a pumpkin from a cadet’s head and smashing it.
Flight hearkens back to a rivalry between Company C-2 and the Aggie Band, one that crystallized in the form of an annual prank around 1964. Knox Yellin, communication and history senior who participated in the festivities with Company C-2, said he has spoken with many alumni about what the tradition used to be like.
“The objective was to get a pumpkin on someone’s head and then smash it in the band dorm, and the band came to try to keep it from getting inside,” Yellin said. “It was kind of this big brawl, and that evolved and got bigger and bigger until someone said, ‘This isn’t a good idea. We’re gonna stop doing it.’”
Yellin said sometime in the mid 1990s, those responsible for the event began to question its value, and the Flight was phased out.
“It’s just one of those things where, in the 60s, was just a playful rivalry, but it basically — it was becoming very violent — and that’s something where although rivalries can be good, at a certain point you need to know when to stop,” Yellin said. “I would say the same thing about Bonfire. We kept building and building and it got so huge that it collapsed, and at that point we realized, ‘This is way — this is dangerous.’ We kind of lost a grip on it. And I think that similar thing happened with Flight.”
Around 2008 however, hungry for the tradition that once unified them, Company C-2 began planning for the event’s rebirth under one condition — the Aggie Band was not to be involved.
“Some C-2 guys back from the 2000s said, ‘We’d like to bring this back, but we obviously need to do it in a constructive way,’” Yellin said. “That was initially done by taking the band out of the equation to alleviate that pressure.”
Without the Aggie Band’s presence, the tradition continued on, acting as a bridge between the C-2 of now and the C-2 of then, Yellin said.
“It gives us some identity,” Yellin said. “And it symbolizes that connection with C-2 from all the way back to its roots in the 60s.”
After nearly a decade performing it on their own, C-2 members made the decision to re-incorporate the Aggie Band in a different way. The Aggie Band now performs music during the event. JC Park, engineering technology junior and public relations representative for the Aggie Band, said this reincorporation was an attempt to strengthen the relationship between C-2 and the band.
“The company commander and their outfit as a whole wanted to revitalize the bond that the band and the outfit had, but not in the same terms that they carried out in the past,” Park said. “So, why are we doing it this year? It’s just because they wanted to bring us back together.”
The event garnered a crowd that included Daniel Edwards, engineering technology senior. Edwards said the music was a good touch to a strange tradition.
“I thought [The Flight] was pretty intense,” Edwards said. “I think it’s just weird enough to be unique.”

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