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Training tomorrow’s airmen and guardians today

Air Force ROTC cadets from the University of Utah, Brigham Young University and Utah State University will be competing in the annual tri-detachment (Tri-Det) tournament on the U’s Salt Lake City campus.

Cadets attending the 2023 event will also receive a visit and briefing from the pilots of a CV-22 Osprey Special Operations helicopter during a scheduled landing and takeoff demonstration.

Air ambulance and emergent care operations at University of Utah Health hospitals and clinics and Primary Children’s Hospital will not be impacted by the event.

“This annual tournament is a tremendous opportunity for these cadets to interact with and learn from real-world operational pilots. We anticipate this being an incredibly inspirational event for these young men and women who are preparing to selflessly serve our nation,” said Lt. Col. Greg Lotz, operations officer, University of Utah AFROTC Detachment 850.

The Tri-Det is a friendly annual competition for cadets from each school, planned entirely by the cadets. This year organizers anticipate approximately 100 cadets will be in attendance.

The day’s tournament of events will encourage friendly athletic competition as well as test their knowledge of AFROTC-related topics. Past tournaments have incorporated events such as a quiz bowl competition, an aircraft recognition test, tug-of-war, an engineering challenge, flight drill evaluation (FDE), ultimate frisbee, flag football and an overall relay race.

About the helicopter landing

The Tri-Det will take place Saturday, March 25, 2023, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The helicopter is scheduled for landing at approximately 2:30 p.m., and takeoff approximately 5 p.m. at Stillwell Field in the historic Fort Douglas area of campus.

The helicopter, pilot and crew of the CV-22 Osprey Special Operations helicopter are based out of Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico. The cadets, many of whom are interested in becoming pilots themselves, will get the chance to learn firsthand the requirements for becoming a pilot and can discuss career paths available to them as they enter active duty.

To avoid possible safety concerns, pilots will be landing and taking off from the center of Stillwell Field. U staff and cadets will sweep the field and immediate area of possible debris beforehand and will cordon off the landing area to ensure the safety of the attendees and surrounding buildings.

This event is not open to the public.

What is the AFROTC program at the U?

The AFROTC is a military training program for those that desire to serve in the United States Air Force or Space Force as an officer. The length of the AFROTC program coincides with the completion of a bachelor’s and/or a master’s degree, traditionally three to four years. When in the program students are required to be enrolled in two aerospace study (AS) courses every semester. The academic AS courses are conducted in the classroom and cover general military knowledge, military leadership and national security studies. The Leadership Laboratory AS courses are designed for students to implement the knowledge learned in the classroom and practice leadership application in a military training environment. For more detailed information you can visit the AFROTC Detachment 850 website at