By: Madison Thompson

FORT KNOX, Ky. – 4th Regiment, Advanced Camp, successfully completed the Rappel Tower and Confidence Course at Fort Knox, July 6, during Cadet Summer Training. Despite rainy weather conditions, Cadets were still able to perform admirably during both the Confidence Course and the Rappel Tower.

“The rappel tower is a 64-foot tower. It has two different sides. It has a walled side and an open side. Cadets will rappel off both sides to the ground. The walled side, you use your feet more and the open side you use more of your hand break techniques,” said Sgt. Morgan Coad.

4th Regiment, Advanced Camp Cadets participated in rappel tower training at Fort Knox, Ky., on July 6, 2017. (Photo by Nicholas Bafia)

Cadets received a safety briefing before proceeding with training. They were given three demonstrations. The first was how to properly rappel down the tower. The second demonstration was of what Cadets should do should they lose their break hand or start to fall. The third demonstration was what to do on the no wall side of the tower.

Cadets broke into two groups. While one group began the Confidence Course, the other trained at the Rappel Tower. After completing the Rappel Tower, Cadets had different thoughts about the training.

“It was one of the most organized, well-rehearsed training. So, it went by pretty quickly. I thought it was going to be boring, but it was actually kind of fun. It was also my first time doing the no wall rappel,” said Cadet Michael Helpingstine, East Carolina University, Chapel Hill, N.C.

“The rappel tower was pretty fun. That was the first time I did a no wall rappel … It was a good time and probably one of the best days of training we’ve done so far,” said Cadet John Hester, Stetson University, San Antonio, Texas.

4th Regiment, Advanced Camp Cadets participated in rappel tower training at Fort Knox, Ky., on July 6, 2017. (Photo by Nicholas Bafia, using long exposure to show Cadet movement down the wall)

Safety, especially in the rain, is always considered during CST.

“At the rappel tower, they go into every last inch of detail to make sure that the harness and the Swiss seats are done correctly. Every time, before you jump, you’ve got three different people who inspect your seat and everything. So, it literally impossible to get hurt on it,” said Helpingstine.

Rappel Tower training is important for Cadets in many different ways.

“There are multiple reasons why it’s important for Cadet training. It teaches them to trust their equipment and to be confident in themselves, but also to be a leader and not just ask somebody else to do it,” said Coad. “They need to do it for themselves. They need to able to go out and take that plunge and do something they may be scared of and not just assume that people who fall underneath them will do everything. So, it helps them to conquer their fears and be a leader at the same time.”

After completing the Rappel Tower in a slight drizzle of rain, the groups of Cadets rotated locations. At the Confidence Course, nine events awaited Cadets: Tough One, Inclining Wall, Low Belly Over, Confidence Climb, Six Vault, Swing Stop and Jump, Low Wire, High Step Over, Weaver.

4th Regiment, Advanced Camp Cadets participated in confidence course training at Fort Knox, Ky., on July 6, 2017. (Photo by Nicholas Bafia)

After completing these tasks, Cadets had time to take a breath and reflect on CST so far and what meant the most to them.

“My favorite part? For me, personally, the most enjoyable thing is the Cadre and the other Cadets I’ve met, because you have people from every state in the country,” stated Helpingstine. “It’s pretty cool to make new friends.”

Cadets also had a moment to reflect on advice for future Cadets.

“For the confidence course, have a good workout routine at home or come prepared physically for it,” said Hester. “For the rappel tower, it’s just overcoming that fear. Trust your equipment and believe in the system.”



Cadet Summer Training will bring 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: