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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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A history of the Flight of the Great Pumpkin

“Each year the great pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch he thinks most sincere,” said Linus. Most people know the famous Charlie Brown Halloween episode of the great pumpkin, and company C-2 of the Corps of Cadets holds an event every year similar yet vastly different from Charlie Brown’s story.

 

Company C-2 held the Flight of the Great Pumpkin, the oldest tradition in the corp, in the Quad on Friday, Oct. 28. The story of Flight started in 1963 when Boyd Cherry, Class of 1967, was a fish in the company.

 

“The juniors were always looking for things to do at the expense of the fish,” Cherry said. “And they dreamed up the idea for a guy to run around the quad dressed up as the great pumpkin.”

 

Traditionally, the company would hold an apple bobbing contest amongst the freshmen and whoever turned up empty handed had to be wrapped with a white sheet, have a carved out pumpkin on his head and run through a gauntlet of upperclassmen with a flaming broom.

 

“It was just a fun diversion for kids our age to do,” Cherry said. “They were always looking for wild and crazy things, and I guess they still do it now.”

 

Flight of the Great Pumpkin, also known as Flight, did go through changes after the event became a competition between the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band and Company C-2 when upperclassmen would try to smash and knock off the pumpkin on the freshman’s head with ax handles inside the band dorm.

 

Angelica Gammon, Class of 1982, was an editor for The Battalion in 1981 when she wrote an editorial over the dangers of the tradition.

 

“I thought it was absurd at a school of higher education we bashed a pumpkin in on the heads of the underclassmen with an ax handle,” Gammon said. “About the same portion of the population that thinks a tradition is fine and should leave it now thought so back then, but I think these things have evolved.”

 

After the event escalated into being a brawl between C-2 and the Aggie Band, the tradition experienced a period of hiatus and just recently started again. C-2 no longer fights the band but instead marches around the Quad with pumpkins, torches and finally smashes the pumpkins on the ground. Last year, the band was reintroduced to the night by playing music while C-2 participated in Flight.

 

“Just like the rest of the Corps, C-2 realized we had to change with the times,” said Chad Schutz, Commanding Officer of Company C-2 and mechanical engineering major. “We make sure now that we actually have a purpose behind it that way it can actually continue to flourish and continue to happen every year.”

 

Paul Ojeda, industrial distribution senior, said the event is used as a way to bridge the gap between alumni and current members in the company.

 

“Now, it is about bringing two classes together and building bonds, and it’s not really about just ‘Go do this funny task just because’,” Ojeda said. “It’s about building those bonds, building camaraderie and solidifying that family that we constantly talk about all four years in C-2.”

 

Juniors in the company start planning for the event the day after its annual completion.

 

“As an underclassmen it is something to look forward to,” community health senior Alex Powers said. “When it came back, it was this completely introspective view and centering on C-2 itself and just making our classes stronger and making our upperclassmen more disciplined and more unified.”

 

Flight of the Great Pumpkin is open to the public, and spectators were able to get a taste of what it means to be in C-2.

 

“It’s a lot of fun for them,” computer engineering freshman Val Zaboltny said. “I think it’s just really cool because I don’t know anything about the inner workings of the Corps.”

 

While spectators of the event may not get to experience the family of C-2 themselves, they are able to witness it every Halloween when the Great Pumpkin makes his flight.

 

“What I’ve heard about C-2 is your freshman year you join the Corps, your sophomore year you join the outfit, but your junior year is when you actually join the family of C-2,” Schutz said. “This is when you know who we are.”

 

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