FORT KNOX, Ky. – By now, most Cadets from 5th Regiment, Basic Camp, know that Cadet Summer Training is no walk in the park. But how about a walk on rope ladder suspended almost 25 feet or higher in the air?
With their bright red safety helmets strapped around their chins and harnesses secured tightly around their waists, Cadets from 5th Regiment faced their fears at the Forest Hills Confidence Course on July 26.
“A lot of the Cadets that come out here have a fear of heights, which translates into a fear of falling,” said Sgt. 1st Class Barry Ray. “One of the things we try to instill in them is that in trusting their equipment, it is physically impossible for them to actually fall off the obstacles.”
“Once they start realizing that having a fear of falling or a fear of heights is irrational with all the equipment they’ve been given,” said Ray, “they’ll start to build confidence.”
Whether it’s finding their footing on the rock wall, navigating the alpine towers or finding their balance on the high ropes course, trusting in their equipment, Cadre and themselves is the key to the Cadets’ success.
“Having confidence in all these things is the biggest thing that allows them to be an effective leader,” said Ray.
As easy as it is for a Cadre member to instruct a Cadet to have faith in their equipment, it’s another for them to actually have the confidence and take the leap.
“I’m terrified of heights,” said Cadet Emily Locascio, New Mexico Military Institute. “But the biggest thing I’ve taken away from this exercise if trusting in my equipment.”
Although some may argue that climbing to the top of a rope ladder or inch-worming your way along a rope from one platform to the next are the most difficult parts of the confidence course, Locascio would have to disagree.
“I was really hesitant about letting go at the very end and trusting that they would catch me and lower me down slowly,” said Locascio. “But I think you learn really quickly that they’re all there for you.”
As Locasio and the Cadets from 5th Regiment, Basic Camp zip lined to the end of their time at Hill Forest Confidence Course, Emily seemed positive about how her fellow Cadets were doing at CST so far.
“I think we’re doing really well,” said Locascio. “After spending days out in the field, this was definitely something we were looking forward to.”