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The Battalion

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

The Battalion

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

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Loved ones remember Muster honorees

Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

Friends and family members of Aggies who passed away in the last year light candles after their loved one’s name is called during the Roll Call for the Absent at the Campus Muster ceremony at Reed Arena on April 22.

As Aggie Muster approaches, family members and friends are reflecting on the lives and legacies of the loved ones they have lost.
A live stream of Aggie Muster will be held on Wednesday, April 21 at 7 p.m. in Kyle Field and online. Since the founding of Texas A&M, every Aggie who has lived and died has remained a part of the Aggie Spirit. Muster celebrates that spirit, and although the tradition has changed through the years, its purpose remains to honor the Aggies lost during the past year and bring people together to celebrate their lives.
Mickey Ohlendorf, wife of Muster honoree Norbert Kurt (Dutch) Ohlendorf, Class of 1954, said her husband’s story is a special one.
“He loved Texas A&M to the core, as so many Aggies do,” Ohlendorf said. “He was a walk-on for the football team and was chosen as co-captain. He then went to Junction and survived it, along with a few other guys.”
The values former football coach Paul Bryant instilled in the men about the sport and rising to the occasion applied to their personal lives as well, Ohlendorf said.
“[My husband] met so many challenges, but he continued to just never give up. That wasn’t in his being,” Ohlendorf said.
In 2019, the Aggies played Alabama in Tuscaloosa, and Ohlendorf said several events were held to honor the Junction Boys.
“We didn’t know if he would be able to go because from May until mid-October, he had [medical] tubes, and he would just strap the tubes to his legs and go forth with his day,” Ohlendorf said. “About two weeks before the game, the doctor said he could go, and that game was the best medicine he could have ever had.”
When fellow Junction Boy Richard Vick paid the couple a visit, Ohlendorf said he credited Dutch for one of his biggest plays, but her husband never cared about public acknowledgement.
“He was the most humble person I’ve ever known,” Ohlendorf said. “He did his job, he did what he needed to do and he sought no publicity. He is greatly missed.”
According to the Association of Former Students’ website, Aggies gather to celebrate Muster at over 300 locations around the world each year.
“The largest Muster is held on the campus of Texas A&M University at Reed Arena,” the website reads. “The ceremony is preceded by a Muster Barbecue at noon on Simpson Drill Field which provides a great opportunity for students and former students to meet and share their stories.”
Another Muster honoree, Frank J. Fojit, III, Class of 1963, served in the United States military and was prepared to go to Vietnam. His daughter Rebecca McCarty said he then returned to A&M where he worked in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, retiring after 36 years.
“He was very unique, and he was a big talker,” McCarty said. “He worked in the corn department, and he was on some of the working teams that dealt with corn breeding. He bred the lines that yielded the maroon corn.”
When Frito Lay contacted A&M in the interest of creating a corn product lighter in color with fewer dark spots, McCarty said her father was positioned as the lead researcher.
“Frito Lay accepted their breed,” McCarty said. “He loved genetics, so whether it was raising cows or chickens or corn, he loved it. With his chickens, he would breed pretty much every colored egg possible: maroon eggs, green eggs, blue eggs. It was always a surprise.”
True to the Aggie Core Values, anytime anyone needed something, Fojit was always there to help, McCarty said.
“He had some people working for him on his farm that didn’t have medical insurance, but they had medical issues, so he would pay for them to go to the doctor or whatever they needed,” McCarty said. “A lot of people that needed money would come to him, and he would employ them and help them in that way.”

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