Last Updated: June 12th, 2024By

Through climbing, crawling and jumping, Cadets with 2nd Regiment Advanced Camp conquered the confidence course at Fort Knox, Kentucky, June 10, 2024. The course contains nine obstacles that Cadets must use their mental and physical strength to overcome as one of the initial events of Cadet Summer Training.

While going through the course, Cadre are there to give a brief demonstration, allow the Cadet to attempt the obstacle and follow it up with a simple go or no go. The goal for Cadets is to find confidence within themselves and pass all nine obstacles and learn more about their abilities going forward with CST.

Cadets with 2nd Regiment, Advanced Camp maneuver through the Confidence Course at Fort Knox, Ky., June 10, 2024. The Confidence Course is designed to instill confidence within Cadets by testing their mental and physical abilities across nine obstacles. | Morgan Edwards, Virginia Tech, CST Public Affairs Office

“We are allowing the Cadets to come in here and test their confidence and physical abilities on the nine different obstacles,” said Sgt. 1st class Gabriel Cambron, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colo.

When faced with a daunting obstacle such as Jacobs Ladder, it can be intimidating for anyone let alone Cadets. Jacobs Ladder challenges Cadets to climb up a ladder several feet up in the air while maintaining three points of contact, then flip to the other side of the ladder. Finally, once they have scaled the remainder of the ladder, perform a free fall onto a safety mat.

Having to weave in and out of wood pillars while maintaining stability is not something most people do every day. Making this course even more difficult for those Cadets who may not have access to anything similar.

“Once I got up to the top, and I had to hoist myself over and grapple the top, I swung under it and thought I was going to fall,” said Cadet Rebecca Fitch, University of Virginia. “I thought I was going to die, but I didn’t,” said Fitch.

Cadets are given two chances to pass a specific obstacle. If they fail on their second attempt, they receive a no go for that specific event. Cadets may go into an event thinking that they are unable to complete it, but will often prove themselves wrong after their second attempts.

“The six vault was hard since it was a little tall,” Said Cadet Brianna Miller, Niagara University. “But on my second attempt, I was able to get through it,” said Miller.

Physical ability is imperative for the course but having the right mentality going into each obstacle, at times, triumphs physicality.

As Cadets go through each obstacle, squad members who are not participating are off to the side cheering their peers on as they navigate. Whether it is cheering, clapping or giving words of encouragement, Cadets are attempting to boost morale and be significant motivators.

Cadet Rebecca Chow, University of Southern California, 2nd Regiment, Advanced Camp attempts the inclining wall at Fort Knox, Ky., June 10, 2024. This obstacle challenges Cadets to jump over the wall and slide down the other side while maintaining a low posture. | Morgan Edwards, Virginia Tech, CST Public Affairs Office

“I at least try my best to succeed in all of them, but not succeeding does not make you less of a leader,” said Miller.

The Confidence Course encourages Cadets to go beyond what they think they can do and “not allow themselves to let their fear of thinking that they don’t have the ability to continue or accomplish these obstacles win,” as noted by 1st Sgt. Cambron.

About the Author: Morgan Edwards