Carl "Doug" Moore

Bugle Rank, Class of '81

First things first, sorry I am slow in responding - too many holiday activities to check my email timely - not trying to avoid the question.

Second, I want to avoid the question.

No, I'm kidding, but several questions come to mind. 1) How did you come to ask me this question (I mean the email wasn't CC'd to anyone)? 2) Are you looking for a confession? . 3) Why do you want to tell the story? 4) Finally, surely there is a band tape that shows the actual truth about what happened - why not check it? Although I have never seen it and do not recall it ever being shown for us - may have been viewed more as demoralizing or something - or maybe it was shown and I am repressing the agonizing memory . I ordered a copy of all of the drills that year and this particular one was conspicuously absent from the tape - which I think is too bad.

Actually, it is kind of a favorite story, not because of what happened obviously, but in the following weeks, that one catastrophe (in our minds at the time), generated a fair number of positive stories and well wishes about the Aggie Band from students and news editorials around Texas.

Your questions hit a little close to home in that I was probably one of the people guilty of screwing up. So, I'll tell you the best that I remember, what happened. Remember, it's been more than 16 years, or more than 5900 days since it happened, so some of the details are probably fuzzy.

I was a bugle rank member and also CO of B-Co. As I recall, I was Bugle Rank (BR) member #11, or second from the right as you face the band. It was a standard follow the leader part of the drill behind the bugle rank. I don't remember whether other parts of the drill were any easier or harder due to a short week or whatever, but this part of the drill was follow the "leader". As I recall (Oh, God), Bugle Rank members #1, #4, #7, and #10 were suppose to counter march on say the 20 yard line, then BR #2, #5, #8, and #11 were suppose to counter march on say the 15 yard line, then BR #3, #6, #9, and #12 would counter march on the 10 yard line. You get the idea, the yard lines or spacing were probably different - I think we actually counter marched 2 paces after the first group and so on, because it all happened so fast. Anyway, I think it was BR #10, who counter marched too soon, say on the 25 instead of the 20. I followed suit a set number of paces later, and #12 followed me. This happened while the rest of the band performed correctly.

Or maybe it was BR #9 who started it - I just don't remember for sure and sure don't want to indict anyone here. Oh what the hell, it was... Nevermind, he can brag about it if he wants to. Or maybe it was me and I have suppressed this truth for 16 years - God I need counseling (g).

There was lots of speculation at the time that Rice, somewhat notorious for trying to mess up our drills was blowing whistles or something that encouraged the early turn. It could have been that or any number of things, such as a slip in concentration or misreading the yard line on or whatever. Anyway, the whole thing happened so fast - I don't even know how long it took the drum majors to realize the problem - it may have been immediate or it may have been 20 seconds or more. I think we continued another couple of minutes after the mistake and I never realized the problem (mostly because I was always in correct position relative to BR # 10, but I was guilty none-the-less) until nearer the time the drill was aborted. In the middle of the drill, the head drum major blew a long whistle and three short ones and by that time most knew there was a problem and the whistles stopped us from playing, the drum major yelled break and we ran off the field like we would from a Block T. In any case, the error was unrecoverable from because we had no contingency plan - I am not sure one is possible. I am curious what bands people are taught now on how to handle a similar situation?

Anyway, the rest of the game was obviously depressing - 250+ people trying to figure out what happened. Of course, I wish I had turned where I was suppose to, but the end result would have been the same I think. It seems like there's just no way to regroup a moving formation like that - I mean how can you quickly communicate to 20 or so people behind you how to compensate or correct something like that without the option of stopping everyone.

Anyway, I am very curious now that you brought this nightmare up , not only what bands people are taught to do in similar situations, but what they are told about that infamous day - I mean how much have we been humiliated over the years (g). I know, practice, practice, practice (and perfect practice makes perfect) is probably on a short list of solutions.

Of course I can look back and laugh about it now, but it's embarrassing thinking the mistakes of a few can embarrass the whole Band - I mean it was a little harder to deal with than an individual mistake or two that screw up an 8am drill (I think that's what they called them at the time for a perfect drill, that meant first call in the dorms was 8am on Monday morning?), but the band completed the drill.

Nobody really knows what happened on that field that day. But the bottom line is several of us messed up, I am not sure anybody knows for sure why, and we never wanted to mess up again.

Carl "Doug" Moore B-Co. BQ '82

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