Texas A&M grid coach visiting troops in Iraq

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman is visiting U.S. troops in Iraq, honoring a school tradition that recognizes fallen Aggies.

Sherman left Sunday and wanted to meet the troops close to "Aggie Muster," the day of remembrance for former and current students who died in the preceding year. It is held every April 21.

More than 300 musters take place in locations around the world, including Afghanistan and Iraq. A roll call is announced, and friends and families of Aggies who died that year answer "here" when the name of their loved one is called.

The school said Sherman met with troops and was heading to Baghdad to meet Lt. Gen. Robert Cone. The deputy commanding general for U.S. Forces in Iraq is also Fort Hood's commanding officer.

Sherman personally paid the trip expenses after receiving permission to go from Texas A&M President Dr. Bowen Loftin.

"As I have gotten older, I have an even greater appreciation for our country and the freedoms we enjoy because of our armed services," Sherman said. "I am so very honored to represent Texas A&M as the football coach and in a very small way let them (service people) know how much we all appreciate their daily sacrifices."

School spokesman Alan Cannon said Tuesday that Sherman plans to stay in Iraq for about a week. He said no assistant coaches or A&M players joined Sherman on the trip.