Silver Talons Drill Team Competes at SCIDM
By Abigail M
It was a cold, dark, and rainy Thursday morning. Twenty-two cadets and all their gear, plus rifles, were loaded in vans and on their way to their biggest event of the year--the Southern California Invitation Drill Meet (SCIDM). After weeks of practice and preparation, Det 685 was set to compete in one of the largest drill competitions in the nation.
The Silver Talons Drill Team, led by Cadet Alyson D., was formed in October. It includes the full-armed flight, commanded by Cadet Eric K. and his executive officer Cadet Wyatt P., and the four-man honor guard, commanded by Cadet Bradley B. The team is composed of AS100 and AS200 cadets, many of whom had had no previous experience spinning and throwing rifles.
For the past five months, our biggest obstacle was finding a place to practice. With McAlexander Fieldhouse under construction for most of that time, we ended up using many different locations to conduct our practices. However, whether it was the parking garage, the MU ballroom, or the indoor sports field--6am or 6pm--we worked hard to make the best of what we had. We faced our share of challenges (those 6am practices weren't always easy), but through perseverance, teamwork, and dedication we made it through. By the time SCIDM rolled around, we were as ready as we could be.
We left Corvallis on the 3rd of March and arrived in Anaheim, CA that evening-about 16 hours later. Following practice the next morning, the team headed to Huntington Beach to have a bit of fun before competition time came. Activities of the afternoon included Ultimate Frisbee, football, swimming, and seeing how many people we could stack on one person's back. That evening, a little bit sunburned (or quite a bit sunburned, depending on who you were), we spent time shining shoes, prepping uniforms, cleaning rifles, and studying warrior knowledge.
March 5th, the day of the competition, dawned bright and sunny with hardly a cloud in the sky--both a good and bad thing. We sun-deprived Oregonians enjoyed the reminder of what sun was like; unfortunately, having to look straight into the sun makes catching a rifle a bit more tricky. However, our practice went well, and we were confident as we waited for the competition to begin. Inspection went pretty smoothly--that is, as smoothly as an open-ranks inspection conducted by Marine Drill Inspectors can go. After inspection (and after about 10 minutes of the Marines having some fun with our commander) we entered the drill pad for regulation drill. The regulation drill phase went by with barely a glitch and was an excellent demonstration of Silver Talons' teamwork and discipline. Our concluding exhibition performance was a bit rough, but we managed to complete it without too many big mistakes.
At the end of the day, against competition such as West Point and BYU, our efforts were rewarded with a 1st-place trophy for Regulation, and a 2nd-place Sweepstakes trophy. All in all, a job well done for the Silver Talons Drill Team.
- Abigail M.