Last Updated: June 10th, 2024By Tags: , , ,

Fort Knox, Ky –

Second Regiment, Advanced Camp faced a 64-foot wall for rappel training as part of Cadet Summer Training, June 10, 2024.

After filing in from a morning ruck march, Cadets made their way to the bleachers where they were given a demonstration on the training to come.

Cadets watched instructors as they displayed how to properly rappel. The demonstration included the correct way to tie a rappel seat, called a Swiss seat. Cadets then moved down to the rope corrals where they were outfitted with their ropes and carabiner.

The rappel training course included two stations, one being a 45-degree slanted wall that allows Cadets the time to practice before finally making their way to the 64-foot tower looming over them.

Cadet Colin Kersey, a student at Virginia Military Institute, said he had a big fear of heights before becoming involved in the ROTC program. Because Virginia Military Institute is a military university, Kersey had the opportunity to conquer this fear before arriving at Fort Knox.

“I always wanted to be in the military.” said Kersey.

Kersey said that this lifelong goal of his is what lead him to join the ROTC and he plans to commission as an Army officer after graduation. Kersey expressed he was still nervous for the training exercise despite having experience.

“Honestly, I was nervous at first,” said Kersey “but once I went down the first time, I realized that it wasn’t so bad.”

Kersey said the most difficult aspect of the exercise was learning to control his brake hand. After getting a little nervous at the top of the tower, Kersey forgot the proper control. After a Cadre gave him some reassurance, Kersey said the process became easy.

“This course brings out confidence in Cadets,” said Kersey, “as well as trust in their equipment and fellow Soldiers.”

As Cadets made their way down the wall, they were forced to trust their fellow trainees to catch them if they fell. Belayers are those responsible for holding the bottom of the rope in case of a fall. Each Cadet had to take over the belay position when they touched the ground, giving them all the chance to show their platoon members they can be trusted.

A trend during Cadet Summer Training is the things Cadets learn about themselves while completing challenging courses like the rappel tower. Kersey said that ROTC has shown him that he is more capable of certain things than he ever thought.

“I feel like a few years ago,” said Kersey, “I never would have thought I would ever be capable of doing something like this.”

Cadet Sophie Williams, a student at Georgia Southern, shared Kersey’s view on the building of confidence during the rappel tower course. Williams also expressed the exercises ability to build confidence as well as trust in a soldiers procedure that are in place to keep them safe.

“It’s about overcoming your own self-preservation.” said Williams.

Williams also expressed the exercises ability to build confidence as well as trust in a Soldiers procedure that are in place to keep them safe.

“ROTC has taught me that I can do it, and that I can be here.” said Williams.

The rappel towers magnitude of height helped Cadets gain more confidence and overcome their personal fears, a skill they can take forth into their career as Army leaders.





About the Author: Andrew Berger
Andrew Berger is a senior at Ball State University majoring in Photojournalism. He is the Photo Editor of the Ball State Daily News and a member of the NPPA.