FORT KNOX, Ky. – Cadets Nina Huff, Loyola University Maryland, and Antonia Adipietro, Norwich University, from 4th Regiment, Advanced Camp, compared their experience with the 64-foot rappel tower to their expectations for air assault school after camp at Fort Knox, Ky., June 28, 2023. Conquering the rappel tower is one of the first steps of building confidence for these two before attending air assault.

Air assault is an 11-day course that challenges Cadets physically and mentally. During the last phase of the course, Cadets are required to rappel out of a helicopter.

A Cadet from 4th Regiment, Advanced Camp, acts as a safety as another Cadet rappels down the 20-foot slant tower at Fort Knox, Ky., June 28, 2023. The rappel tower incorporates a team building aspect as Cadets encourage each other when they go down. | Photo by Keaton Silver, University of Mississippi, CST Public Affairs Office

For Huff, her expectations are high, and she was happy to rappel for the first time ever today.

“I feel a lot more confident going into air assault school going down the tower twice,” Huff said. “I am very excited for the opportunity, and of course, there are nerves to it, but I trust myself that I’ll be able to persevere through anything and be successful.”

Adipietro, on the other hand, has had experience with heights last year when she attended airborne school and does not fear rappelling.

“At airborne, I was the first jumper for three out of my five jumps because I volunteered and was so excited,” Adipietro said. “I’ve also been skydiving before, so I really like heights, and I’m not afraid of rollercoasters or anything like that.”

Because of their future commitment of attending air assault, both of their attitudes motivated other Cadets at today’s event.

“I was just smiling and handing out high fives, and I think it really built some people up,” Adipietro said. “Hopefully, it gave them the confidence that they needed.”

Since the rappel tower is a mandatory event to pass at Advanced Camp, the Cadets afraid of heights need that extra boost of enthusiasm.

A Cadet from 4th Regiment, Advanced Camp, prepares to jump off the 64-foot rappel tower at Fort Knox, Ky., June 28, 2023. Cadets get over their fears and build each other up during this unique event. | Photo by Keaton Silver, University of Mississippi, CST Public Affairs Office

“After going down, my adrenaline was running so much,” Huff said. “I think I spread my positive energy to people around me because we were all successful going down.”

Huff and Adipietro are honored for the opportunity to take part in air assault school and feel that today was a fun way to be introduced to one of the aspects of the course.

Only a select few of Cadets make an appearance at air assault, and these two are nervous and yearning to graduate camp to start school.

If they are able to pass air assault, Huff and Adipietro will have the honor of wearing the air assault badge on their uniform, be awarded the 2B ASI, known as an additional skill identifier, and be well versed in helicopter asset knowledge, eventually helping their units succeed in combat.