FORT KNOX, Ky. – Cadets from 7th Regiment, Advanced Camp, descended a 64-foot tower for rappel training at Fort Knox, Ky., July 7, 2023.

Cadets from 7th Regiment, Advanced Camp, complete rappel tower training at Fort Knox, Ky., July 6, 2023. During this training, the rappel tower helps Cadets to increase confidence and trust in their equipment. | Photo by Kate Koennecke, Ohio State University, CST Public Affairs Office

A recent graduate from University of Central Florida, 2nd Lt. Hayley Blatt, explained the process Cadets participate in throughout rappel training.

“First, we do a demonstration, then we assist with tying seats, [next] the Cadets go down the slant wall,” Blatt said. “After the Cadets complete the slant wall, they go down the closed side, then the open side of the tower.”

After completing every step of the process, Cadet Sydney Honeycutt from Xavier University described how she used the motto, ‘it’s just not that serious,’ to keep her anxiety in check while standing on top of the tower.

“I’ve had a motto pretty much this entire time. I’ve been telling myself ‘It’s just not that serious’,” Honeycutt said. “You can’t have a negative attitude because that affects the whole company, so at least one person has to have a positive mindset.”

At Cadet Summer Training, Advanced Camp, Cadets are put under pressure. They must graduate from camp to become commissioned officers in the Army.

Rappel training is a low-stress event that is designed to build the Cadets confidence.

“I think it was easier facing these heights knowing that if I mess up, it’s not serious. I’m here to learn, and it’s okay to mess up,” Honeycutt said. “It makes you more approachable because even if you’re nervous, everyone else is too.”  

Cadet Sydney Honeycutt from Xavier University (left) adjusts here carabiner at Fort Knox, Ky., July 6, 2023. Honeycutt’s kept repeating the motto “it’s not that serious,” when she started to get nervous about the height of the rappel tower. | Photo by Kate Koennecke, Ohio State University, CST Public Affairs Office

Multiple 7th Regiment Cadets were on the same page as Honeycutt, creating mottos and phrases as a means of relieving stress.

Cadet Fola Taiwo from Prairie View A&M University’s go-to phrase is ‘minimize the risk.’ She said this phrase reminds her that no part of training is as bad as it seems.

“I minimize every risk,” Taiwo said. “I always say it’s just a little rappel tower, you’re not going to die.”

Taiwo has learned to not only ‘minimize the risk,’ but to embrace the tough parts of CST.

“You have to ‘embrace the suck,’ which is a phrase you hear a lot here,” Taiwo explained. “You’re going to do a lot of things that make you feel uncomfortable, but you have to understand that your Cadre and the people helping you are going to minimize the risk to the highest level.”

The Cadets will attend confidence course training to continue building their confidence and team cohesion.

About the Author: Kate Koennecke
Kate Koennecke
Kate Koennecke is a rising junior at The Ohio State University double-majoring in Political Science and Strategic Communications. This summer, Koennecke will be working as a Public Affairs Intern, covering events throughout Cadet Summer Training this summer as a Photojournalist. Koennecke has had many experiences working in the public sphere, including interning for the Ohio Statehouse for the Ohio Democratic Caucus in the Senate in the fall of 2022. Once this summer comes to an end, Koennecke hopes to take back her knowledge of Public Affairs back to the Buckeye state with her.