Community Beyond Combat
Delta Company offers veterans a unique community in the Corps
By Jordan Burnham @RJordanBurnham
After serving overseas, veterans find community and shared military experience within the Corps of Cadets’ Delta Company, an outfit designated specifically for combat veterans.
The Corps is typically known for creating tomorrow’s leaders and military officers, but in the Delta Company, those who already have experience in the military can continue to serve others throughout their time at Texas A&M.
According to Navy veteran and Deputy Corps Commander Ennis Rios, the Delta Company existed during the Vietnam War era but was recently re-established in 2010. There are currently 18 veterans serving in the outfit. Delta Company allows both Rios and others to be a part of a community with shared experiences and backgrounds, which keeps them motivated to push through challenges after the military.
“When I got out [of the Navy] and thought about college, it was really intimidating to me,” Rios said. “But some of the stuff that I read or looked up said that veterans need a community to be successful because that’s how we operate in the military.”
Army veteran and sports conditioning junior Nikolas Bogost said he joined Delta company to be with like-minded people who share more than just a living arrangement.
“We share experiences, the same humor, similar interests and it feels more like family than I think most other units would,” Bogost said.
According to Army veteran and history junior Patrick Gaume, members of the outfit have served overseas a minimum of three years, which makes incoming fish as old or older than most other companies’ seniors.
“Delta company allows us to come in, specifically focus on our education, as well as gives us the flexibility to maintain our relationships, our lives and our commitments,” Gaume said. “So we have the flexibility to both participate in the corps in a meaningful way as well as do what we need to do without having to learn all of the day-one things.”
Marine corps veteran and electrical engineering junior Derrick Calzada is considered a fish in the corps and said he’s looking forward to living the Aggie experience alongside fellow veterans and other cadets.
“I joined because I missed the structure that the military provided, also more so the camaraderie,” Calzada said. “It’s already another home, and that’s what the military was like.”
According to Rios, one of the biggest challenges Delta Company members face comes with the misconceptions traditional cadets and veterans have of each other. However, becoming a part of the ceremonial Ross Volunteer Company allowed him to share experiences with cadets from throughout the corps.
“To see how inspired they are to do good things, not just here, but when they leave here, how inspired they are to be good people… It’s really refreshing and really motivational,” Rios said.
Rios said he encourages veterans who have considered joining the corps to speak with current members of Delta Company.
“There is another family outside of your military family, and your new family is just as invested in you being successful here as your military family would have been in you being successful there,” Rios said.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in August 2018, but numbers of members have been updated to reflect current information.