The U.S. Air Force may be the youngest branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, but it’s still rich with tradition. In the undated inset photo, Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) cadets at USC line up with drill rifles in front of the Bovard Administration Building. They’re flanked by members of present-day Air Force ROTC Detachment 060 standing at rest.
USC’s Air Force ROTC program was established in 1947, the same year the U.S. Air Force became its own branch of the military. Since then, more than 1,600 Air Force lieutenants have come from the USC program. Its prominent graduates include Lt. Gen. Stayce Harris ’81, the Air Force’s first female African-American lieutenant general, who earned her degree from the USC Viterbi School of Engineering. Other detachment members have included the late NFL great and sportscaster Frank Gifford ’52 and Olympic gold medalist Parry O’Brien ’56.
In 1986 and 1997, the group was honored with the “Right of Line” award, which recognizes the nation’s best Air Force detachments. These days, Air Force ROTC Detachment 060 includes students from USC and other local colleges and universities as well. Students take courses on management and leadership through the Department of Aerospace Studies in the USC Price School of Public Policy.