FORT KNOX, Ky. – 9th Regiment, Advanced Camp Cadets challenged themselves, while learning the importance of motivation at the Rappel Tower and Obstacle Course at Fort Knox, Kentucky July 13.

A Cadets rappels at Fort Knox, Kentucky July 18, 2018. Photo by Dustin Massengill.

Climbing, rappelling, falling and scaling, the Cadets face challenges of personal courage and dexterity while developing interpersonal and communication skills required to achieve greatness in the US Military.

“The main thing we want them to get from the confidence course is that they can face these obstacles,” Capt. Kyle Gellhaus, Army Reserve, stated. “A lot of times they have a fear of heights, they don’t think they can do it and they get to use their personal courage to overcome these obstacles and it teaches them how to face adversity in life.”

They Cadets also learn hard skills specific to the training like proper rappelling technique, knot tying and how to successfully climb a rope.

A Cadets reclines a rope at the obstacle course at Fort Knox, Kentucky July 18, 2018. Photo by Dustin Massengill.

“It looks really difficult,” Gellhaus said, “but if you teach them the technique they can get up the rope in about 30-seconds. It is pretty cool to watch them grow in front of your eyes in less than a minute.”

This training works to encourage Cadets and desensitize them to one of the most common phobias, the fear of heights/falling. According to Live Science 19.2 million American over the age of 18 lack a natural ‘head for heights’, making heights one of the most common, often irrational, fears in the US.

Bounding off the walls creates, and reinforces, trust in equipment and personal ability.
Cadet Nicholas Sgandellone , University of New Mexico, has rappelled on three separate occasions and says his confidence has gone up every time he rappelled.

“I think you are always nervous a little bit every time, no matter how many times you have done it,” said Sgandellone. “Once you get over it, you realize it isn’t that bad and it gives you that boost of confidence that we are all here looking for.”

A Cadets reaches for a rope latter at the obstacle course at Fort Knox, Kentucky July 18, 2018. Photo by Dustin Massengill.

The Cadets spend their day proving to themselves they are capable of overcoming obstacles while motivating each other. They are instructed to encourage a battle buddy whenever they might appear to need it. Cadet Claudia Bacon, University of Delaware, says that working together under stress and providing motivation are what brings Cadets together.

“I like the ‘suck it up, get over it’, but I think people genuinely caring for your success and wanting you to succeed is what I like to hear.”
Bacon said to keep the supportive language simple, so you don’t confuse a battle buddy.

“Let’s go, you got it, you can 100-percent do this, just keep focused, and be confident your gonna get over it.”

During this training Cadets will see each other’s fears helping them connect and congeal into a strong unit before their Field Training Exercise begins.