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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

Ma’am, yes ma’am: Corps names first female commander in 139-year history

PROVIDEDAlyssa Michalke, the 2015-2016 commander of The Corps of Cadets 
Texas A&M Corps of Cadets Offici

PROVIDED

Alyssa Michalke, the 2015-2016 commander of The Corps of Cadets 

Forty years ago, the Corps of Cadets first allowed women into its ranks. Now, it will be led by one.
Alyssa Michalke will serve as the first female Corps commander in the Corps of Cadets’ 139-year history. She will take command of the 2,400-plus member unit, the largest of its type in the nation outside the service academies.
Current Corps Commander David Trigg informed Michalke of her appointment, which will be formally assumed on May 9 at the Final Review process, a ceremony in which seniors lead their units in a march for the last time and hand over the reins to the new leaders.
“So it will be the first time the junior class, the Class of 2016, gets to put on their boots,” Trigg said. “At that time they will lead their first march-in onto Simpson Drill field and I will transition my role as Corps commander to Alyssa Michalke during Final Review, in that ceremony.”
Trigg said Michalke looks forward to this opportunity to lead.
“She’s excited and feels very privileged and humbled for the opportunity to serve and I’m excited to see what she can do,” Trigg said.
Michalke is a junior with majors in ocean and civil engineering and presently serves as Corps sergeant major, the highest rank for any cadet who is not a senior. She is the first woman to hold that position as well.
Her mother, Nicole Michalke, Class of 1993, said she is still overwhelmed with excitement.
“When she was chosen last year as sergeant major, we knew this was a definite possibility because it usually transitions into that,” Nicole Michalke said, laughing. “But we knew it wasn’t a given, so we’ve been kind of thinking about that for a while but when it actually becomes a reality all of the sudden and your daughter is all over the news everywhere, it’s pretty overwhelming.”
Sydney Snell, biology senior and friend of Michalke’s, said Michalke is a strong leader and a people person.
“She’s great with other people,” Snell said. “She always puts others before herself. If somebody needs something done for them, she is just selfless.”
Michalke said in a university press release that she is honored to have been selected and will do her best to uphold the tradition of leading her fellow cadets.
“The Corps of Cadets has provided me a tremendous opportunity to grow as a person and to develop good leadership skills,” Michalke said in the release. “More importantly, I’ve been able to mentor others and I will continue to do so in my new position as Corps commander.”
Michalke’s appointment coincides with the 40th anniversary of female inclusion in the Corps. Brig. Gen. Joe Ramirez, Corps commandant, stressed there is no correlation between the two events, but it is an interesting coincidence.
“We selected Alyssa Michalke to be the Corps commander because she is the best candidate for the position,” Ramirez said.
Michalke was selected after a series of interviews with a board, members of which included outgoing Corps student leaders and Ramirez. Final approval was made by interim University President Mark Hussey.
“We went through a pretty long, arduous process to determine who was going to be next year’s Corps commander and Alyssa was the one who was a clear choice to be the Corps commander next year,” Ramirez said. “That is why she was selected. It had nothing to do with her gender, although we are very proud of the fact that Alyssa is the first female Corps commander in the Corps’ 139 years.”
Morgan Cochran, sociology senior and Michalke’s friend, said anyone who says Michalke got the position because of her gender doesn’t know Michalke at all.
“I’ve been thinking about it a lot today,” Cochran said. “There are definitely people that feel that way. Honestly, it’s just sad. Our university core values, one of them is respect, and she definitely earned her position and anyone who would say she didn’t earn it and just got it because of her gender, that’s just a shame.”

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