Developing leaders of character who are dedicated to serving the greater good is what being an Aggie is all about. As Aggies, we carry the responsibility of traditions, forward thinking and living our core values. Being a cadet in the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets upholds all the Aggie core values (excellence, integrity, leadership, loyalty, respect and selfless service) in addition to honor, courage and discipline. Living a life as a cadet, Michael Cox ’20 has realized both his academic and personal pursuits have evolved into a life that is now centered around his core values, more specifically selfless service. For as long as he can recall, Michael has been influenced by a military upbringing, and the values associated with military life. With over 30 years in the United States Army, Michael’s dad has been his greatest mentor, demonstrating the true meaning of selfless service, dedication and discipline. “It is a blessing to have such an inspiring person as my father. I feel very blessed to have the unique opportunity to have been raised a ‘military brat.’ I have been afforded so many unique opportunities to attend numerous schools, meet tons of people and even live on multiple continents. Most people never get half of the experiences that I have had in their entire life. Through all my travel, I am happy to call San Antonio, Texas my home and it has been since I was in 9th grade.”
An incredibly proud member of company A-1, the oldest outfit on the Quad, Michael is currently studying as a telecommunications major with a minor in cyber-security. Within his outfit, Michael serves as a squad leader, as well as Public Relations Sergeant and the IG Sergeant. If that is not ambitious enough, he is also honored to serve as the outfit’s Chaplin. Appreciative for the opportunity to serve as his outfit’s Chaplin, Michael speaks passionately of his role. “Becoming a Chaplin is something I pursued, truly because I felt it was a calling. When I was a freshman, I was really struggling, and in all honesty, I did not want to be here. I questioned if the corps was really for me. It was my Chaplin who reached out to me and said, ‘Michael, there is a spot for you here, and we want you here; I have no doubt you can do this!’ It was so impactful that as I have evolved and made it through that difficult time, I was inspired. I felt that if this fellow cadet can do that for me, then I absolutely can and would like to do that for someone else. Being the Chaplin is an incredible and unique opportunity that allows me to talk to numerous young adults that I never would have had the privilege of knowing. I support them by mentoring them to stay on top of their morale, grades and personal issues. I get to know them on a deeper level and it is very fulfilling to me.”
Michael continues to say his role as Chaplin provides him a rewarding opportunity to lift others, specifically during Freshmen Orientation Week. “Many freshmen have a tough time during FOW. They are pushed hard, and many want to quit or are just not motivated to be here. Serving as a Chaplin is a really unique chance to serve as a mentor to these cadets and say, stick with this organization that has given me so much and my buddies so much, and I promise you, if you take it day by day, or even hour by hour, it WILL do the same for you.” Joining the Corps of Cadets was an overall calling for Michael. “It was really never a question to join the corps, it is something I have always felt compelled to do. Just knowing that the corps represents the Keepers of the Spirit and it serves as the backbone of this great university and the values that are instilled in each cadet was enough to motivate me to join. It was clear to me there was no better way to serve my university than to be a part of the most visible organization on campus. Joining this organization has afforded so many wonderful opportunities to meet new people from all walks of life. More importantly, it has given me an opportunity to serve and aid; it truly has given me an entirely new perspective on life as an ambitious young adult.”
Another major impact on Michael’s Corps experience has been receiving a Corps scholarship through the Texas A&M Foundation. A current Sul Ross scholarship recipient, Michael feels strongly that his scholarship serves as a huge motivator for him. “It is humbling to just know that someone is out there, caring enough to look out for me and believing in my abilities to work hard and get a solid education. My scholarship has given me the extra push I sometimes need in being held accountable; it is just incredible.” Although his accomplishments thus far have been many, Michael is most proud of his decision to serve his country by contracting with the United States Army. It is Michael’s goal to become a medical service pilot. “I love helping people and this is a constructive way to do that. I have
always had a calling to serve, it is a big part of who I am- I get that from my mom. I have always been taught through my childhood and my time in the corps the importance of service and servant leadership. It is not just about being a leader, it is equally important to be able to serve those and give back to those who come both before and after you. It is also important to be able to help as many people as you can along the way.”
The amount of personal growth Michael has seen in himself over the past three years is immeasurable. He is quick to say the Corps is responsible for instilling and reinforcing all the attributes that will make him a strong leader one day. “I have learned that it is ok to struggle. If you are not struggling, and you are not busy…then you are not working hard enough.” We are so proud of Cadet Cox and we are certain he will be an incredible asset to not only the United States Army, but each of those who cross his path along the way.