Last Updated: June 17th, 2024By

FORT KNOX, Ky. — Cadets with 2nd Regiment Advanced Camp overcome the Rappel Tower at Cadet Summer Training on Fort Knox, June 17, 2024. The purpose of this event is to allow Cadets to find courage within themselves and trust their equipment.

“There is only one way down,” said Cadet Johnathon Brockelbank, The Citidel. “You just have to get down.”

Before Cadets scale the 64-foot wall, they practice on a smaller slant wall. Some Cadets find the slant wall easy, but once they get up on the tower, they get nervous and begin to overthink. However, it is important for Cadets to ground themselves, not let their anxiety get the better of them while maintaining trust in their equipment and the Cadre that are tasked with getting them safely down the wall.

“If you conquer your fears through the Rappel Tower…you can conquer your fears in anything else,” said Cadet Veronica Ledezma, Purdue University.

Learning how to get the better of your thoughts can be the difference between falling and having control. At all times, Cadets have control of the rope and in the event they do begin to fall, their belay is there to stop them. This is another opportunity for Cadets to build trust with themselves and their teammates on the ground.

The Rappel Tower equipment has been tested repeatedly so it is up to the Cadet to conduct their safety checks so that both the Cadre and Cadet know they are in control.

When it comes to understanding equipment, “the four point safety check is super helpful also letting yourself know that you are okay and you are in this moment,” Cadet Anjali Biswal, American University.

“Courage is being so afraid, but doing it anyway,” said Biswal. “I am not afraid of heights; I am more afraid of falling, but its more rewarding when you are done.”

In the time it takes to get from the top to the bottom, Cadets either don’t think and just go for it or they think too much and get in their head. “If I do it right, it will be over in 30 seconds,” said Biswal.

Throughout CST there are moments where Cadets are challenged to partake in events that they may not be as knowledgeable in. Being able to overcome these challenges, in some ways, builds more leadership and experience for Cadet’s future careers as officers in the U.S. Army.

The Rappel Tower provides Cadets with the opportunity to conquer their fears, exceed their own expectations and build courage.

About the Author: Morgan Edwards