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 16, 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.

Master Sgt. Jeffrey Tinsley checks the safety of the Swiss Seat for Cadet Kasceyon Hyman’s from City College of New York, 9th Regiment, Advanced Camp, at Fort Knox, Ky., July 16, 2023. The rappel seat allows Cadets to safely rappel off the 64-foot rappel tower. | Photo by Thaliya Martinez, Olivet Nazarene University, CST 2023

The purpose of the rappel training is to build confidence in yourself, have trust in your people, and your equipment.

Cadets tied their rappel seats, checked their safety knots, and headed to the slant wall, which is a short version of the rappel tower where they learned the proper techniques of rappelling.

Kasceyon Hyman from City College of New York said that she has a fear of heights as she talked about how she felt while on top of the slant wall.

“It looked slippery and I panicked a little bit,” Hyman said. “I took a lot of deep breaths and listened to the cadre, which really helped calm me down.”

After Cadets completed the slant wall, they headed over to the rappel tower. Hyman mentioned how she felt looking down while on top of the rappel tower.


“I started crying because the tower was taller than the trees, but once I started bouncing off the wall, I felt fine,” Hyman said.

Cadets try the freestyle side of the rappel tower before completing the rappel training. Hyman mentioned her experience ziplining down. 

“It was a lot easier than the wall for me because all I have to do is release my hand [break hand] when coming down,” Hyman said.

Everyone knows the rules to the rappel tower, ‘there is only one way down and that way is down the rappel wall,’ some Cadets use this saying as motivation, but that is not the same for Hyman. 

“This is actually something that we have to overcome in order to be the leaders that we want to be,” Hyman said.

Hyman mentioned one take away during the rappel training.

“Despite crying a little bit, I need to trust myself more because I’m in control and my safety begins with me, ” Hyman said. “That was a big takeaway, trusting myself, trusting the leadership, and the guidance that they provided.”

After hearing about Hyman’s experience with the rappel training, Lynn Rodgers from University of Nevada, Los Vegas talked about her experience.

“From the moment I found out that we were doing the rappel tower, I got scared,” Rodgers said. “I have a fear of heights and falling.”

Cadet Lynn Rodgers from University of Nevada, Los Vegas, 9th Regiment, Advanced Camp, rappels off the slant wall before conquering the 64-foot rappel tower at Fort Knox, Ky., July 16, 2023. This trains Cadets on the proper techniques for rappelling before attempting the vertical challenge. | Photo by Thaliya Martinez, Olivet Nazarene University, CST 2023

It’s important for Cadets to rappel off the slant wall before they can climb up the steps to the rappel tower. Rodgers mentioned how she felt walking towards the end of the slant wall. 

“I was afraid because it was my first initial introduction to rappelling,” Rodgers said. “Even though the distance was shorter, I felt like it was going on forever because I was going down super super slow.” 

Cadets are ready to conquer the rappel tower after they have completed the slant wall, they make it to the top of the rappel tower, look down as they shout the command, ‘lane 3 on rappel,’ to their battle buddy who is belaying down below. The person “on belay” holds the rope at the base of the tower and with a hard pull can stop the rappeler from falling.

“It took me a good minute to go down because I started having panic attacks,” Rodgers said. “The biggest thing that helped me was having good cadre and people cheering me on.” 

Rodgers mentioned how she felt at the freestyle side.

“It was not that bad,” Rodgers said. “I had a cadre member grab on tight to my rope so it did not swing and that helped me out a lot.”

Some Cadets that have a fear of heights might not want to do the rappel training again, but that’s different for Rodgers. 

“I would like to do this again,” Rodgers said. “I do want to get over this fear and I want to be able to do this without having any worries.”

About the Author: Thaliya Martinez
Thaliya Martinez
Thaliya Martinez is from Evanston, Illinois and attends Olivet Nazarene University. She majors in Multimedia Communications with a concentration in Film Studies along with a minor in Military Science and Military Affairs. Her passion for photography and videography started when she was young. Her passion for photography and videography grew stronger from capturing her soccer, cross country, and track and field team in high school. Also, working as a professional sports videographer and photojournalist for MileSplit Illinois. In college, she has some experience of being a Cadet Public Affairs Officer from her Rolling Thunder Battalion Army ROTC program. Her goal for the internship is to let God lead the way in her showing the world the 100% that the Cadets put in every day and that there’s more behind these Cadets then just them in uniform. Thaliya wants to strengthen her night photography, audio skills, and writing skills while interning for the Army ROTC Public Affairs CST team at Fort Knox.