FORT KNOX, Ky. – Cadets from 9th Regiment, Advanced Camp, completed the confidence course training where they rappelled off a 64-foot tower at Fort Knox, Ky., July 23, 2023. Cadets learned how to properly rappel, the safety of rappelling, and how to tie a rappel seat, called a Swiss Seat, before rappelling off the rappel tower. The purpose of the rappel training is to have Cadets gain confidence in themselves and overcome their fears. Cadets made their way to the slant wall to practice rappelling before walking up the stairs to the rappel tower. Cadet Amy Beaden from Northern Arizona University, […]
FORT KNOX, Ky. – Cadets from 9th Regiment, Advanced Camp, completed the confidence course training where they rappelled off a 64-foot tower at Fort Knox, Ky., July 23, 2023.
Cadets learned how to properly rappel, the safety of rappelling, and how to tie a rappel seat, called a Swiss Seat, before rappelling off the rappel tower.
The purpose of the rappel training is to have Cadets gain confidence in themselves and overcome their fears.
Cadets made their way to the slant wall to practice rappelling before walking up the stairs to the rappel tower. Cadet Amy Beaden from Northern Arizona University, mentioned how she felt rappelling off the slant wall.
“The slant wall was a great practice run. It was a way for me to become a little bit more comfortable with the technique and form,” Beaden said.
Cadets’ hearts are already racing from walking up eighty one stairs and now, they have to rappel down. Cadet Beaden mentioned how she felt rappelling down the tower.
“At the top, your heart rate is pumping, you definitely get a little nervous, but that’s when you have to take a deep breath and trust yourself,” Beaden said. “You have to go for it.”
While some Cadets fear the height of being on top of the rappel tower, Beaden said that she has a fear of falling.
“The height itself didn’t really bother me, but when you’re up there, it’s definitely scary at first,” Beaden said.
Cadets have to rappel off the rappel tower twice, one on the wall side and one on the no wall side. Beanden mentioned her favorite side to rappel down.
“I’d like the no wall side because you had a little bit more control and the wall you have to push off of and do big leaps,” Beaden said.
Cadet Lucas Zundel from The University of Akron, was in a different platoon than Beaden experiencing the rappel training. He mentioned his fear of heights.
“It’s definitely getting better every time I do something like this,” Zundel said. “The army has definitely taken that fear of heights from me.”
Zundel continued about explaining the ways that the Army has helped him, “Pushing me to continue to do it and not letting me get out of things,” Zundel said. “Being able to face those fears has definitely helped me get over being afraid of falling.”
While Cadets are on top of the rappel tower, it shakes from them bouncing off the wall and then, they look down to shout ‘lane 5 on rappel’. Zundel mentioned how he felt training on the rappel tower.
“It’s definitely frightening at first,” Zundel said. “You get a little scared, but once you get through the first part where you lock your legs, you start to go down, you will definitely feel a lot better. You feel more comfortable and you’re excited to get down to the ground again.”
Cadets gain confidence after rappelling off the wall side and then after, they have to rappel off the no wall side.
“You’re definitely more comfortable since you just did the open wall,” Zundel said. “I’d say once you get off the start at the open side, It’s definitely better than the wall side because It feels more natural.”
Can you guess which side of the rappel tower that Zundel liked the best?.
“I’d have to say the no wall side because it’s a lot more exciting. They’re both pretty nerve racking when you start at the top, but once you get to the open side, it’s pretty smooth sailing the rest of the way and a lot of fun,” mentioning his favorite side.
Zundel gave advice for 10th regiments Cadets.
“Just push yourself to keep going,” Zundel said. “I didn’t want to do this the first time I did this sophomore year, two years ago, but it gets easier every time so just keep pushing yourself, and overcome any challenge that faces you.”
Cadet Cameron McElrath from NC State University, was in the same platoon as Beanden and said that he does not have a fear of heights.
“I always thought I did, but I’d never really felt that I had a fear. But when [I was on top of the rappel tower], I was more confident because I knew I had control of the situation,” McElrath said.
When you are on top of the rappel tower, it feels like you can see almost all of Fort Knox. McElrath mentioned how he felt while getting ready to rappel down.
“I felt pretty confident. I knew that we were going to be able to jump down so it was just like three big jumps and it was over,” McElrath said. “I enjoyed it and I wish I could do it again.”
One by one, Cadets are flying down the no wall side. McElrath mentioned how he felt experiencing this compared to rappelling off the wall side.
“I actually enjoyed it a little more because the wall wasn’t there. You could go down at your own speed,” McElrath said.
McElrath mentioned his favorite side of the tower to rappel down.
“Definitely the open wall,” McElrath said. “On the wall, I jumped [rappelled] down twice and on the third one, my body turned sideways and I hit the wall.”
McElrath gave encouragement for 10th regiment Cadets.
“I know there were a lot of people that had a nervousness of heights, but there was a demonstration at the very beginning of a guy on top and he showed us what not to do. He let go of the rope, upside down, right side up, and he was perfectly fine,” McElrath said. “They gave that example beforehand to show that, even if you do let go completely, you’re not going to fall off.”
McElrath continued about the rappel tower demonstration, “It was a safety thing and you just have to trust your equipment. Once you trust your equipment, you can just go, and be confident.”