History Peeps: Aggie alumnus Kyle Ryman
Aggie alumnus Kyle Ryman, class of 2009, decided to join the military during his junior year in high school. Motivated by Tom Cruise’s heroic character in the film Top Gun and by the events of 9/11, Mr. Ryman felt compelled to volunteer.
Texas A&M provided Mr. Ryman with the college experience he craved and one of the best ROTC programs available for students who planned to become military officers. Initially an engineering major, Mr. Ryman switched in the fall semester of his sophomore year to explore his passion for military history. Mr. Ryman notes that his experiences in the history department at Texas A&M were “invaluable” for his later career as an Army officer.
Under Dr. Brian Linn’s guidance, Mr. Ryman took classes focused on counterinsurgency. They taught him the historical importance of relationships between officers and local villagers that he later applied to his experiences serving in Afghanistan.
As he rose to the rank of Captain, Mr. Ryman commanded large groups of soldiers—as many as 300 troops at a time. For two years, he also served as an aide-de-camp for an army general at both Fort Campbell and in Afghanistan.
In 2020, Mr. Ryman graduated as one of the top students from the University of Texas School of Law in Austin. He says his history degree from Texas A&M helped him to excel. As an undergraduate, Mr. Ryman had learned to read and sift complex information to assess its significance. He notes that these critical thinking skills paved the way for success at Texas Law. His history degree also allowed him to see how laws often have unanticipated consequences that ripple outward throughout society.
To what historical figure would Kyle Ryman like to say “Howdy” if given a chance? Mr. Ryman answers he would want to meet General George Marshall, Army Chief of Staff during World War II. Mr. Ryman describes General Marshall as “the epitome of the Army officer” who served humbly and “had a peerless capacity for solving complex organizational problems.” Marshall was an extraordinary man who kept the allied forces together during an extraordinary time.
(Jennifer Wells ’24)