FORT KNOX Ky.- It is not unusual that Cadets are conquering new heights each day at Cadet Summer Training. In fact, they are encouraged to go above and beyond their natural comfort zone. For some, that comfort zone may be on the ground where they feel safest. Others may be most comfortable when they are being pushed to their maximum fear.
Today, Cadets were challenged to new heights at the Rappel Tower and Confidence Course. But why is it important the Cadets conquer their fear of heights?
“It’s important that the Cadets learn how to rappel properly in the instance that they have to use it for helicopter or mountain area operations. It all depends on their job and what they decide to do in their line of work,” stated Master Sgt. Daniel Rabidou.
“It is also important to learn just because it helps them get over their natural inherit fear of heights. This is an exercise we do during training and it’s important that they are able to do anything that their Soldiers are asking them to do,” he continued.
Before Cadets even step foot on the tower, they learn how to tie themselves into a safe harness using provided ropes. Their full equipment includes their harness, safety gloves, a helmet, and eye protective gear.
After the Cadets are briefed on safety procedures and how to belay their fellow members, they are ready to conquer the tower.
Apart from safety procedures given before going up the tower, how do the Cadre keep the Cadets safe while actually rappelling down to the ground? Well, Rabidou was more than happy to provide an answer to that question as well.
“Once Cadets are in the L-shaped position hanging on the side of the tower, the first thing they are asked to do before rappelling is the four-point safety check. Step one, check your carabiner. Make sure when you are in your L-shaped position that the carabiner hasn’t become inverted. Step two, make sure you are in the proper stance. You should be in the L-shaped position with your feet planted on the wall and shoulder width apart. Step three, check your rope. Make sure the knots are secured and tied properly with no tangles. Finally, know where you’re going. This means a quick glance over your shoulder so you know where you are going to land,” he explained.
The Cadets are asked to complete these steps at least three times while rappelling to the ground.
After it was all said and done, a few Cadets were happy to share their experience from the exercise. Kyle Korb of Olivet Nazarene University provided his personal insight.
“As future army officers we are going to be faced with a lot of adversity with and without our troops. We are fortunate to have events such as these where we can face and tackle our fears straight on. Personally, this event was fun for me. I enjoy the challenge of conquering new tasks that test my strength and ability to become a better Soldier.”
Also, Catherine Lynch of Mount Saint Mary’s University left future Cadets with some words of advice. “Go with your gut and don’t overthink everything, because the moment to start to process your situation is the moment fear strikes. Trust your training, your equipment, and your battle buddies.”
There you have it! Advanced Camp, 4th Regiment Cadets mastered yet another obstacle. Today the Rappel Tower, tomorrow the world.