During a hot and humid Los Angeles afternoon, a group of Air Force ROTC (AFROTC) cadets huddled and shouted with joy. These cadets were celebrating a memorable first place victory at the Southern California Invitational Drill Meet (SCIDM).

SCIDM, an annual competition hosted by AFROTC Detachment 060 of University of Southern California, is the gathering of drill and color guard teams from schools around the nation. The judges of the color guard portion of the competition for this year were Base Honor Guard from Edwards Air Force Base near Lancaster, Calif. The judges for all other aspects of the competition were US Marine Drill Instructors from San Diego County. For the second year in a row, SCIDM was held at the Northrop Grumman Aerospace in Redondo Beach.

The Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Detachment 028 AFROTC Honor Corps, consisting of Honor Guard, Rifle Drill Team, and Sabre Drill Team, have been preparing for SCIDM since the beginning of the spring semester. Each team put in countless hours towards preparation for the competition in Southern California. Starting in the fall semester, all teams have been training to develop and hone their skills and discipline to a level of an elite college Honor Corps.

The blood and sweat that was shed during practice culminated in the honor of representing their school and Detachment 028 through public performances, services, and competitions. The cadets in the Honor Corps were confident, prepared, and excited to face the fierce judging at SCIDM. Even through all the preparation, none of the drill teams were large enough to compete with a full 10-man team and were not eligible to compete in regulation or inspection phases of the competition, the highlight of the competition.

The honor guard team had two teams that competed in the color guard portion of the competition. The rifle drill team also had two teams which competed in the 4-man exhibition. The sabre drill team had one team that competed in the 4-man exhibition. Each of these teams put in at least eight hours a week of practice and preparation for the competition. Taking time out of their busy schedules to represent the AFROTC and ERAU at SCIDM, the most exciting performance of the year.

Each team displayed their own discipline (guns, swords, and colors) at SCIDM. The competition was judged to military standards by professional military judges. Teams must not only master basics such as marching and performances, but must master wearing their uniforms and have the discipline to remain unflustered when something were to go wrong under the piercing eyes of the Marine Drill Sergeants.

The cadets are celebrating Honor Guard’s first place victory at SCIDM in the color guard portion of the competition. This well-deserved victory was the result of many hours of training, practice, and plenty of dedication. Every team put their best forward for the competition and had a wonderful time learning and growing as cadets, students, and future Air Force officers. Many, if not all, cadets are looking forward to next year’s competition, to bring back to Embry-Riddle more trophies to display their hard work and dedication.

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