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Army Veteran Elected Yell Leader

Stephanie Cannon '06 June 20, 2013 3:03 PM

By Roberto Molar Candanosa ’13

Growing up a homespun Texan boy, Roy L. May Jr. ’15 had a closet full of maroon and white clothes and never missed an Aggie football game. He fell in love with Texas A&M early in his childhood thanks to his
father, Roy L. May ’66.

Wanting to be an astronaut, a doctor, or a firefighter was fine for regular kids. Not for May, though. Above everything, he dreamed of being a Fightin’ Texas Aggie yell leader. Now the 34-year-old husband and father is also one of Texas A&M’s most non-traditional yell leaders.

But life took May through an eventful 12-year journey in the U.S. Army before he could make his dream come true. His trajectory in the U.S. Army began in 2000 with basic training in the U.S. Army Airborne School at Fort Benning, Ga. A year later, May became part of the famed Old Guard, where he escorted the president, provided security in Washington, D.C., and served in official ceremonial events. May also served as a guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, as a member of the Continental Color Guard and as a noncommissioned Officer in the Capitol. He was among the first responders who rescued victims after the 9/11 terrorist attack at the Pentagon. 

After serving in D.C., May was sent to San Diego, Calif., where he was assigned as a recruiter. “In California I got somehow tagged as the battalion singer,” May remembered while laughing. “I even got to sing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ at a San Diego Padres game.” 

Later May moved to Fort Bragg, N.C., and in 2009 he was deployed to Iraq as squad leader of the 82nd Airborne Division.

May left the Army after returning from Iraq, eyes set on Texas A&M. In 2011 he finally got his time to be a college student when he enrolled full-time as an industrial distribution major. “I’ve been maroon and white since I was born,” he said. “If I hadn’t come to A&M I wouldn’t had gone to any other school; I would have just kept trying to get in.” 

It was a delightful transition from military life to student life for May. He loves to watch Aggie sports in Kyle Field, Blue Bell Park, the Aggie Softball Complex and Reed Arena, or simply to walk around and experience the great atmosphere that Aggieland offers. 

May knows being a college student is also a great responsibility. “It is a lot of school work but right now my full time job is to be a student,” he said. “The true responsibility is that I am here to get all that A&M has to offer.”

Finally, the zenith of May’s life as an Aggie arrived in the spring 2013, when he was elected by the student body as a junior yell leader.  As a 34-year-old Army veteran, May is amazed whenever he looks in the mirror and sees himself wearing yell leader whites. Being able to serve as a yell leader and represent Texas A&M is a mind-blowing experience for May.

“I’m a man of many words and I have no idea how to explain the feeling,” he said. “It’s an amazing opportunity to represent a university that I just love to the core.”

And being a yell leader is not just about going to football games and other sporting events. May is also excited to promote Texas A&M initiatives and traditions during events such as New Student Conferences, Fish Camp, and other special events, such as Aggie Moms Club events and Coach’s Night. 

“I look forward to being able to represent Texas A&M; it’s such a wonderful opportunity, an honor placed on me,” said May, who sees selfless service as one of the truest pillars of the Aggie Spirit. “Think about it: many times we are people’s first exposure to Aggie traditions—and that’s a huge responsibility.”

May now lives in College Station in a house only two streets away from where he lived the first six months of his life. He lives with his 8-year-old daughter, Kira, and wife, Megan, whom he met in the Color Guard. Both are completely thrilled to have a yell leader in the house. Kira even encouraged current Aggie students running her afterschool program to vote for her dad during elections. 

“She asked them whether they had had a chance to vote for me during elections. If they said, ‘No, I’ll do it later,’ she would respond, ‘Nope, you need to vote for my daddy now’ while walking them to a computer to submit their votes.” 

Though May plans to dive in the industrial distribution aspect of the oil and gas industry after college, first things come first. He is excited for the fall semester to begin and to get a chance not only to lead yells in Kyle Field but also to represent Texas A&M in general.

“I’ve got a year ahead with an opportunity to tell everybody how awesome Texas A&M is—that is mind-blowing.”

Photo captions in order of appearance: The 2013-14 Fightin’ Texas Aggie yell leaders (clockwise from center): Chris Powell ’14, Ryan Crawford ’14, Patrick McGinty ’15, Roy May ’15 and Hunter Cook ’14.

Roy May ’15 with his wife, Megan, and daughter Kira, 8.

Roy May ’15 (left) with fellow yell leader Ryan Crawford ’14 

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