“When I was dangling in the air for the first five seconds, I was like, ‘oh my gosh, oh my gosh… I can’t do this,” said Cadet John Conrad, Texas Tech University. 

In the hot July sun, Cadets conquered the 64ft. Rappel Tower and proved they had what it takes to trust others with their safety.

“The scariest thing about going down the rappel tower was the initial part of having to trust everything,” said Conrad. “Myself, I like to be in control. There’s parts of life where you just have to trust in others.”

While rappelling sounds like a one-man job, sometimes it takes a few words of encouragement for a person to overcome their fear of heights.

Dangling over 50ft. above the ground, Conrad felt the nerves kick in as he glided down the tower. The rope spun him around to face the tower, where his battle buddies cheered him on as they waited for their turn. 

“When I looked around and saw my friends and saw my equipment I just got filled full of trust and knew I could accomplish anything, especially going down the rappel tower,” said the Red Raider Battalion Cadet.

After making it down the rest of the way, the rappel is complete with a battle buddy at the bottom acting as the safety. Cadet Emma Petta, University of South Alabama, was a safety for the first Cadets rappelling down the tower. 

“Talking to them, letting them know that because I was their belay, I’m their safety person,” said Petta. “So I had them – they weren’t gonna fall, and there’s nothing to fear because their equipment is safe.” 

After some encouraging words to her teammates untying themselves from the rope, she gave them a high-five and sent them on their way to their next rappel. 

In the line of Cadet safeties, Cadre also joined in on the rappel. Cpt. Brian Geil, Assistant Professor of Military Science at the University of Miami, got to witness the excitement of Cadets finishing the rappel. 

“Once you get to the bottom, it’s just all smiles,” said Cpt. Geil. “So then at that point, it’s just high-fives, and good-jobs.”