FORT KNOX, Ky. – Cadets from 3rd Regiment, Basic Camp completed the high ropes course at the Forest Hills Climbing Complex on Fort Knox, Ky., August 1, 2023. The high ropes course consists of the Rudder’s Rope Course, two Alpine towers and a rock wall. Each course is designed to help Cadets overcome their fears in a fun and challenging way. “First, we did the Rudder’s Rope Course which involves a lot of climbing, crawling across ropes and then a little zipline at the end,” said Cadet Jason Dzik, University of Delaware. “Then, we went to these Alpine towers, which is […]
FORT KNOX, Ky. – Cadets from 3rd Regiment, Basic Camp completed the high ropes course at the Forest Hills Climbing Complex on Fort Knox, Ky., August 1, 2023.
The high ropes course consists of the Rudder’s Rope Course, two Alpine towers and a rock wall. Each course is designed to help Cadets overcome their fears in a fun and challenging way.
“First, we did the Rudder’s Rope Course which involves a lot of climbing, crawling across ropes and then a little zipline at the end,” said Cadet Jason Dzik, University of Delaware. “Then, we went to these Alpine towers, which is a vertical obstacle course, and you are working with a team.”
Cadets had to build trust with their battle buddies during the high ropes course.
“My battle buddy was struggling with a significant fear of heights, and I really had to focus on that encouragement, like pushing through that fear,” Dzik said. “You’re trying to tell them that it’s only temporary, that pain, that fear, it’s only going to happen for a little bit. You just want to make sure they understand you’re there for them.”
While one Cadet is completing the rope course, the other Cadets will be on the ground supporting their battle buddy and communicating when they are clear to move to the next obstacle. Everyone must complete the course in order to pass.
“A challenge for me, today, was patience,” Dzik said. “For the rope course, I tried rushing through it, and then my battle buddy, who was significantly afraid of heights, was going through it slowly. [So] I got frustrated, but I understood that this person has this significant anxiety, fear of heights, so I should be there for them, so I had to learn patience with that.”
Once Dzik and his battle buddy completed the rope course, Dzik moved onto the Alpine tower. At the Alpine tower, Cadets pair up in groups of three to attempt the obstacle.
Each Cadet has a job during the Alpine tower. One Cadet will be climbing, the second will be belaying and the third will assist belaying. They will each take turns to gain experience in all three roles.
“I actually really liked the Alpine towers working in those three teams because you’re learning three different things at one time,” Dzik said. “Throughout all of that you’re learning how to communicate, and it was important, when I was belaying, I felt more fearful when I was climbing because I was like, ‘This is my battle buddy going up this tower and it’s dangerous. I wanted to make sure they come down safely.’”
Cadet Judy Tug, Nova Southeastern University, had to overcome some fears with the help of her battle buddy as well.
“When I was with no type of restraint just going over to jump onto the rope, my battle buddy definitely told me ‘just take the leap of faith and go for it’ and I definitely did after having a mental internal battle and it definitely helped me so much,” Tug said. “The highlight of doing this is proving to myself that I can do it and that I don’t have a fear that it was all in my head because I got over it within today.”
Tug has been able to interact with Cadets from all over the country and learn from them.
“I’ve enjoyed putting myself into leadership positions,” Tug said. “As well as, into a position where I need to follow and take the backburner a little bit while following someone else’s leadership. I am able to experience different types of leadership and beat all the fears I’ve had that I couldn’t do something in this camp.”
Tug has a history of Army service in her family. Her grandfather, father and five brothers have all served or are serving as infantrymen. Tug, herself, served in the infantry for two years before taking a few years off to figure out the next steps for her career.
She decided to go back to college and become the first commissioned officer in her family.
“I decided to join ROTC (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps) due to a history of military service in my family,” Tug said. “I’m continuing just as my dad and grandfather did, but also because I believe we should all give something back to our country. I believe everyone has leadership characteristics in them. You just have to bring it out and I felt like ROTC was the best way for me physically, mentally, and emotionally.”