Last Updated: June 27th, 2024By

FORT KNOX, KENTUCKY – Cadets with 4th Regiment, Advanced Camp, practiced their rappelling and belay skills on June 27, 2024. During this training, Cadets are introduced to rappel on a 12-foot, angled drop. Once completing this step, they level up to more advanced levels such as the 64-foot wall and the free fall. 

The Rappel Tower acts as another step to help these Cadets grow as leaders. Although they may not find themselves using this skill too often in the future, because they have experienced it, they will have the ability to better assist their future Soldiers. 

“At the end of the day, life in general is about overcoming obstacles and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone,” said Cadet Min Kim, University of Santa Barbra. “If you’re comfortable, you’re not growing as a leader or a Cadet.” 

It is obstacles such as this 64-foot drop that force individuals to make a decision, prove to themselves and others they are capable, or to succumb to their fear. 

“If you’re on the tower and you freeze, you’re not going anywhere. You have to push on, same thing for a leader,” said Joshua Rogers, Appalachian State University. “You might be scared to make the wrong decision but you have to make one, right or wrong.”

Throughout Advanced Camp, Cadets will face various challenges in which they must preserve and rely on their Cadre and battle buddies to help them through.

Araceli Madrid-Orozco is from Arizona State University and struggles with a fear of heights. Although her university provided her with an introduction to rappel, it was on a much smaller scale. 

“On the way up the tower, I kept telling myself fear is a good thing and I can do it,” said Orozco.

It wasn’t until she was hooked up and on the ledge of the tower that she began to have doubts.

“When I started to vocalize my fear out loud, it really hit me,” said Orozco.

After relying on the Cadre on hand and looking towards the leaders in her company, Orozco was able to make it down all three rappel towers, including the 64-foot free fall.

“I was so terrified but the Cadre were encouraging and continued to reassure me, telling me I could do it and that the hard part was already over,” said Orozco. 

In moments of fear, unsure of what steps to take next, looking for a helping hand can be the difference between success and failure.

Orozco encourages, “when you’re overcoming one of your fears, just trust the leaders around you.”

About the Author: Sophia Hughes