ROTC unit competes in meet
USCâs Air Force ROTC Detachment 060 hosted theirÂ 48th annual Southern California Invitational Drill Meet on Saturday in Redondo Beach.
First started in 1965, the largest drill meet west of the Mississippi drew drill teams from all military branches across the country.
Detachment 060 consists of 63 students from 26 different universities and community colleges. Each year, more than 1,000 junior and senior ROTC cadets from more than 30 teams across the nation attend the event.
Cadet John Dike of the Air Force ROTC, a senior majoring in industrial systems engineering and a commander of the drill meet, was excited to participate in the event.
âOur detachment has hosted since 1965,â Dike said. âIâm sure the level of intensity for our competition is unparalleled. Itâs going to be a lot of fun.â
The meetâs judges provide a unique and quite entertaining feature to the event each year. Teams are judged by notorious Marine Corps drill instructors from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. Enthusiastic and unabashed to get in a cadetâs face, these animated judges have been a big part of the tradition.
Dike said the judges are tough, but embody the perfection all drill teams strive for.
âIt really throws people off, but our goal is to make it easy for everyone to act under pressure,â Dike said. âIf youâre pressured by being told to do something quickly and by someone raising their voice, thatâs just one more thing for us to help you overcome.â
Dike believes the lessons learned at the competition translate well to actual military experience.
âWhat we do here in our training and across the military is all carried over into this drill competition,â Dike said. âItâs all about just being used to these things, not being desensitized in understanding the intensity of the situation and not taking it personally.â
Past winners of this drill meet include Brigham Young University, UCLA and Oregon State University.
âItâs a great program that we run, and every year we try to make it better,â Dike said. âWe definitely build legacy every single year among each competitor that comes to our event.â