Miller Reflects on Year with Reveille
First female mascot corporal says it takes a team to care for A&M’s queen
By Samantha Mahler @mahlersamantha
Mia Miller has had quite the sophomore year.
As one of the first female cadets in the E-2 Mascot Company, which was an all-male outfit until fall 2017, Miller made history early on during her time at Texas A&M. In spring of 2018, she was named mascot corporal, becoming the first woman to serve as Reveille’s handler. Though she initially joined the Corps of Cadets to fulfill an ROTC requirement for a Marine Corps scholarship, Miller soon learned that the organization had much more to offer her.
Miller entered into the Corps with a very limited understanding of the organization. It wasn’t until her Freshmen Orientation Week, 10 days before her freshman year began, that she realized what the program was all about.
“It was the craziest freshman year ever,” Miller said. “I thought I was going to come in as a normal college student, and I found out really fast that’s not the way it was going to go.”
The surprises didn’t end once school started, though. Miller had originally planned to be a Guidon for E-2 — the class leader who holds the flag in front of formation. As tryouts approached her sophomore year, the upperclassmen started directing her toward the position of mascot corporal instead.
“The more I studied about the tradition … the more interested I became in it, and I just kept trying harder and harder to do my best to impress my upperclassmen and make it,” Miller said. “I didn’t come on with the intention like, ‘Yeah, I’m going to be mascot corporal next year.’”
Perhaps the biggest misconception about Miller is that she’s a one-woman show. Though she said she struggled with trying to carry the responsibility herself the first semester as mascot corporal, the most important thing she’s learned this past year is how to delegate small tasks to other members of E-2.
“I feel like most of the time, it’s usually ‘Mia Miller: the first female mascot corporal,’” Miller said. “I’m not the only one that does things for this. My friends help me a whole bunch going to different events and supporting me.”
That’s where Assistant Mascot Corporal Austin Etier comes in. His main duty is to be there for Miller, which could include anything from taking Reveille to the groomer to making sure Reveille is looking at the camera when taking photos.
“We’re first and foremost students, and taking care of Rev is a job,” Etier said. “We need to do homework, go take a test and sometimes Mia can’t do something. If Mia can’t do something, I’ll usually fill in for her for that time period and help her out with whatever she needs.”
One of the most difficult things about their jobs is finding free time. Both have made it a priority to balance their responsibilities within E-2 and their friendships outside the Corps.
“People think the Corps teaches you time management, but time management’s really easy to learn,” Etier said. “What makes her such a great handler is that, from what I’ve known, she knows how to put aside her free time and use that for schoolwork, use that for Rev.”
Now at the end of her tenure as Reveille’s handler, Miller has learned how to navigate the responsibility of being mascot corporal. Where she used to leave for class five minutes before, she now leaves at least 30 minutes early to make sure those who she encounters will have the chance to meet Reveille.
“It’s super cool just realizing that what you do can have such a big impact on people,” Miller said. “Every time I see somebody and they’re super excited for Rev, I’ve got to put on a big smile, even if I’m not having a good day, because you don’t want their experience with Rev to be when you were being rude to them.”
During Parent’s Weekend, Miller will hand her title over to a new rising sophomore within E-2. Though her year as mascot corporal has come to an end, Miller is confident about turning over Reveille’s leash to a new handler.
“It’ll feel good,” Miller said. “Especially being able to help choose the next mascot corporal and knowing whoever you choose, it’s going to be your choice and you’re going to put it in their hands.”