Former Physical Education Major Chosen as New Corps Commandant

Written by: CEHD Communications Staff
Post date: April 10, 2010

A former physical education major from the Department of Health and Kinesiology has been chosen as the new leader for Texas A&M's oldest student organization. Brigadier General Joe E. Ramirez, Jr., a Houston native, will serve as the next commandant of the Corps of Cadets. 

Ramirez currently serves as Deputy Director, J5 Plans, Policy and Strategy of the U.S. European Command. He graduated from Texas A&M in 1979 with a bachelor of science degree in physical education and also served as a member of the Corps of Cadets and Aggie Band. "Gen. Ramirez has an extreme love and passion for Texas A&M and the Corps of Cadets, and we are pleased that he will serve as our next commandant and lead the ‘Keepers of the Spirit'," said President R. Bowen Loftin. "He has a vision for not only growing the Corps' membership, but ensuring that our cadets excel in the classroom and develop into the next generation of military and civilian leaders." Ramirez's selection as Commandant results from an extensive national search chaired by General Hal Hornburg '68, U.S. Air Force (Ret.). The 12-member search advisory committee included a broad representation of students, faculty, staff and former students. "Gen. Ramirez is a well-respected, visionary and dynamic leader with a proven record of success. I am confident he will uphold and preserve the proud and longstanding traditions of the Corps of Cadets," said Weber in making the announcement. "He has served our country with great distinction and honor, leading military efforts in the United States and abroad to help protect and defend our country from those who would do us harm."

In his current position with the U.S. European Command, his responsibilities included the development of strategic plans, engagement policy, including building partner capacity to support operations in Afghanistan, and development of theater strategy for a four-star command responsible for Europe, Eurasia and NATO integration. He developed all current plans and policy for U.S. engagement in Europe, including missile defense and nuclear weapons. During his military career, he received numerous awards, including the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit and Meritorious Service Medal. He received a master's degree in management from Webster University in St. Louis and a master's degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa. Additional information about Ramirez's background can be found at: "I arrived at Texas A&M in the fall of 1974 from inner-city Houston wanting to join the Aggie Band. Now, it is a tremendous honor to return to Texas A&M - my alma mater - and give back to the university and Corps of Cadets that have given me so much," said the 53-year-old Ramirez. "The Corps has a special place in Texas A&M's history, and I pledge to work daily to preserve its heritage and provide opportunities for young men and women to participate in this life-changing organization."

Although military service is no longer required of cadets upon graduation, the Corps of Cadets has historically and continues to produce more commissioned officers than any other institution outside of the U.S. service academies. Nearly 2,000 Texas A&M students currently serve in the Corps. Ramirez's appointment is effective Nov. 1. He succeeds Lt. Gen. John Van Alstyne, who had led the Corps since 2002 and resigned from the position in January. Col. Jake Betty, previously chief of staff for the Corps of Cadets, has served as interim commandant.