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FORT KNOX, Ky. – The Delta Co., 3rdRegiment Cadets went through the Confidence Course yesterday, June 8, with the motivation of their squad encouraging them the whole way.

The Course
Cadets submerge their arms in an immersion tank to cool off.

Cadet Brent Schin from Northeastern University
dunks his arms in an immersion tank to cooldown after completing the Confidence Course in Fort Knox, Ky., June 8 2019. | Photo by Kyle Gallagher, CST Public Affairs Office

The Confidence Course is made up of nine different obstacles meant to challenge the Cadets’ strength, both physical and mental. Each obstacle presents a new problem to overcome, and some are harder than others. Whether it’s climbing a rope to scoot across wooden planks or swinging yourself up onto a log, all encompass their own difficulties.

The nine obstacles are The Tough One (known as being the most difficult), the Inclining Wall, the Low Belly Over, the Confidence Climb, the Six Vault, the Swing-Stop-and-Jump, the Low Wire, the High Step Over and the Weaver.

Each one difficult, each one able to be overcome.

A Squad Sticks Together

Maybe the best part of this whole course, though, is the support and encouragement squad members offer to each other throughout the entire exercise.

A Cadet works to pull herself up on the Low Belly Over

Cadet Sandra Torrez from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University attempts the Low Belly Over obstacle at the Confidence Course in Fort Knox, Ky., June 8 2019. | Photo by Kyle Gallagher, CST Public Affairs Office

“It’s [the Confidence Course] really good for building unit cohesion and comradery,” Cadet Bryan Miller, from Asheville, North Carolina, and attending East Tennessee State University, said.

Miller said that the exercise is great to begin Advanced Camp with; it prepares their team for the two weeks they’ll spend with each other in the field, a time where squad comradery and encouragement is absolutely vital. They learn to motivate each other and build up rather than tear down.

“You can see them, they’re about ready to quit, and then that encouragement, that cheering that comes from those squads, you see that build up their confidence,” Capt. Patrick O’Neil, Assistant Professor of Military Science at Central Michigan University, said.

All of that support that comes from the Cadets’ fellow squad members helps them to “muster up their courage” and defeat that obstacle, O’Neil said. It keeps them going, pushes them on.

“I’m here with my squad, and they motivate me to do everything,” Cadet Sandra Pamela Torrez, born in Bolivia and now attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, said.

Torrez said she was working her hardest and it was all thanks to the support her squad offered her at every obstacle. When asked if she was having fun, Torrez’s answer was simple, but endearing: “Yes, because of them.”

Advice, Cadet-to-Cadet

Cadets were asked about advice they had for current and future Cadets coming through the Confidence Course, and all echoed the same motto:

Build each other up.

Encourage, support and motivate your squad and your battle buddy. Alone, the Confidence Course, and camp as a whole, is a frustrating experience. It is that faith the other Cadets have in you, that your friends have in you, that makes the experience worth it.

A Cadet swings on a rope on an obstacle.

Cadet Huntor Ross attempts the Swing Stop and Jump obstacle at the Confidence Course in Fort Knox, Ky., June 8 2019. | Photo by Kyle Gallagher, CST Public Affairs Office

“Stick together with your squad, really motivate them,” Cadet Huntor Ross, from Hampstead, Maryland, and attending The Citadel: The Military College of South Carolina, said. “The more motivation, the more fun you have.”

Ross and his “rock star” squad, as he likes to call it, adapt and overcome together. It’s not about being independent, it’s about making the best of things with your squad and your friends.

“Stay at it, keep fighting, keep that motivation up,” Master Sgt. Harry Bowles Jr., from the Bravo Co., 4399, 104thDivision out of Ft. Knox, said. “Keep your team together. If they’re together, they’ll be great at it.”


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