CORVALLIS - Oregon State University's Silver Talons Drill Team marched to a third-place victory at a recent invitational drill meet in Southern California.

The team, which is part of OSU's Air Force ROTC Detachment 685, performed in the 37th annual Southern California Invitational Drill Meet in Huntington Beach. Their performance marked the first time in 30 years that the Silver Talons were able to perform as an armed detail in the meet, said Rebecca Holcomb, OSU Air Force ROTC cadet.

Despite their lack of experience, the squad competed with more than 20 other teams from across the nation to earn their third-place trophy, Holcomb said.

"This accomplishment did not happen overnight," she said. "The Silver Talons practiced for nearly two terms to hone their skills."

"Without their hard work and dedication, I don't think we could have done half of what we did," said Cadet Matthew Sims, Silver Talons Drill Team commander. "This competition helps us grow as cadets, as students and as future officers for the United States Air Force."

The meet is considered one of the largest and most prestigious in the nation and regularly hosts more than 1,000 juniors and seniors from Air Force, Army and Navy ROTC programs, as well as teams from the U.S. Air Force Academy and the Naval Academy.

Students enrolled in OSU's Air Force ROTC program can qualify for financial aid and commissions as second lieutenants while completing studies for undergraduate or graduate degrees. Oregon State University is one of only 48 institutions in the country offering education for all military departments - Air Force, Army and Navy.

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Rebecca Holcomb, 541-737-3291