By: Madison Thompson

FORT KNOX, Ky. – 2nd Regiment, Advanced Camp, completed the Rappel Tower and Confidence Course at Fort Knox, June 26, for Cadet Summer Training. The Rappel Tower is a 64-foot tower that challenges Cadets through heights as well as rappelling skills and tying the Swiss seat. The Confidence Course is a set of obstacles for Cadets to push themselves to their limits.

Advanced Camp, 2nd Regiment, Rappel Tower and Confidence Course, June 26 Cadet Khory Wheat, Eastern Kentucky University, Lexington, Ky. Photo by: Madison Thompson

“Today, we are Rappelling and doing the Confidence course which is like an obstacle course where there’s different challenges and obstacles that you have to get over. There’s a lot of physically challenging stuff from climbing ropes, jumping over logs and monkey bars,” said Cadet Mary Esker, College of Saint Benedict, Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

The training began with a safety briefing at the Rappel Tower.

“It starts out that we do a demonstration of a clean rappel, a falling rappeler and then another clean rappel,” explained Specialist Lillian Chism. After the safety briefing, “They go to the rope corrals where they learn how to hook up their Swiss seat. They practice going off of the slant wall. Then they make their way up the big tower to do their wall side rappel and open side rappel.”

There are several safety precautions in place to ensure the safety of the Cadets. At each checkpoint, Cadet harnesses are checked and, if needed, readjusted to ensure safety. At the top of the tower, Ropes are doubled and wrapped twice around the carabineer. Also, there is a belayer, a person who secures the rappeler, at the bottom of the tower to secure the rappeler should they start to fall.

Training at the Rappel Tower serves many different purposes.

Advanced Camp, 2nd Regiment, Rappel Tower and Confidence Course, June 26 Cadet Jacob Siry, Purdue University, Cincinnati, Ohio Photo by: Madison Thompson

“The purpose of this training is to conquer your fear and to show you can be a leader by example. Leading from the front, you could never ask your guys to do something you wouldn’t do yourself and getting out of your comfort zone,” said Cadet Khory Wheat, Eastern Kentucky University, Lexington, Ky. “Honestly, you have to challenge yourself to be out there and do things you know you haven’t done before.”

After completing the Rappel Tower, Cadets rotated stations from Rappel to the Confidence Course.

“Now, we’re doing the Confidence Course, and it’s really just that. It’s meant to be a confidence course. It’s not really a “you can’t do this obstacle, so you can’t be in the Army”. It’s more about Cadets pushing themselves outside of their comfort zone and doing their absolute best,” said Capt. Jeff Balka. In total, there were nine events including the following: Swing Stop and Jump, Low Wire, High Step Over, Weaver, Tough One, Inclining Wall, Low Belly Over, Confidence Climb, Six Vault.

The training in the Confidence Course serves multiple training purposes for Cadets.

2nd Regiment, Advanced Camp Rappel Tower/Confidence Course. June 26 Photo by: Madison Thompson

“You never know when you’re going to need these basic skills. It’s to challenge you mentally and physically at the same time, be a critical thinker, always keep you on your feet and trying to just do your best,” said Cadet and recondo candidate Jacob Siry, Purdue University, Cincinnati, Ohio.

At the end of the training, Cadets offered this advice for future training.

“I would say just stick it out. You’re got to grind it out and embrace the suck. Twenty days in the field does suck, but also, in that, there’s some great moments, camaraderies, friendships, funny times, memories you make with people here that is unlike anything you’re ever going to experience,” said Esker.

“When you get up there, just follow the instructions that you’re given. Honestly, don’t think about it. Just do it. Then, as soon as you’re on the wall, focus on the instructions and you’ll be down on the ground in no time,” said Wheat. “You might even have fun with it.”



Cadet Summer Training brings 8,200 Cadets through Basic and Advanced Camp this summer on Fort Knox. These camps are designed to help challenge, grow and improve various skills and leadership qualities within the Cadets. If you think you have what it takes to be a Cadet or if you are interested in a job after college click the following link: