FORT KNOX, Ky. — Cadets from 4th Regiment, Basic Camp, faced their fears during the confidence course on July 15.
The Basic Camp confidence course consists of three different events: the climbing wall, the Alpine Tower and Rudder’s Ropes Course. The three different variations of obstacles are meant to challenge the Cadets physically but also mentally.
“The biggest thing we have the Cadets doing out here is facing their fears,” Georgia State University Military Science Instructor and Confidence Course Non-commissioned Officer in Charge, Sgt. 1st Class Barry Ray said. “It is not actually to get rid of the fear. Getting rid of the fear is actually possible, it is more of learning how to control that fear, channeling it and directing it into an ability to overcome a specific obstacle.”
Some Cadets, like Jordan Coffman, from Waldorf, Maryland, and attending Virginia Tech University, were very nervous about coming to the course due to a fear of heights.
During the course, she was still nervous but once she made it to the top, she realized she could do anything.
“I was still afraid, but not as much [as before],” Coffman said.
She learned to control her fears with the help of her battle buddy.
“I am extremely afraid of heights and [my battle buddy] was not,” Coffman said. “I think [having a battle buddy opposite of you] makes for a good balance because it works to motivate you and push you when you don’t want to do things.”
For other Cadets, staying calm and focusing on the fundamentals helped them.
“If you do what they say to do, it’s easier,” Shaw University Cadet ShiAsia McLan said. “If you don’t move and adjust your body in the right way, it is possible that you will just fall.”
Ray agreed that fundamentals get Cadets through the course.
“When you process a fear the proper way, it actually allows you to be more focused and confident, and it allows you to be more careful in doing things the right way,” Ray said. “Someone who is scared is going to do exactly what needs to be done to accomplish a task.”
Learning to control their fears is not only an accomplishment in the moment, but it will also help the Cadets in the future.
“Whether it is the fear of heights, the fear of falling or the fear of the unknown, all of those things contribute to that Cadet’s ability to make sound and timely decisions,” Ray said. “It transfers later on in their career when they have to actually lead, mentor and guide others. They know that they have already faced a situation where they possibly faced one of the greatest challenges they have had up to that point and they persevered.”
Not possessing the confidence to overcome an obstacle is not an option when Cadets commission as Officers.
“There are obstacles in life that you have to go through,” McLan said. “When you get to that moment in a leadership position, you can’t just back out and say that you don’t want to do it. You need to step ahead and lead.”