Last Updated: July 10th, 2024By

Cadets with 8th Regiment, Advanced Camp, conquer through the confidence course and rappel tower portion of Cadet Summer Training on Fort Knox, July 10, 2024. Through these activities, Cadets not only test their physical abilities but also cultivate the mental toughness and leadership qualities necessary for their future roles in the military.


Eyda Gu, a Cadet from the University of Michigan, shared her journey and the impact of the obstacle course and rappel tower on her development. “Today we’re doing an obstacle course as well as a rappel tower to test our confidence and gain stability in our bodies,” said Gu. “Ensuring we can handle whatever the Army throws at us.” Cadet Gu’s military journey began in 2020 when she enlisted and completed Basic Combat Training. Currently part of the simultaneous membership program, she balances her commitments between the National Guard and ROTC.


Her initial motivation to enlist stemmed from a desire to engage in community work, particularly natural disaster relief provided by the National Guard. “I saw some information about how the National Guard does natural disaster relief and community work, and I thought that was really awesome,” said Gu. “I wanted to do that after college, and that’s still my plan.” Inspired by her recruiter’s encouragement and recognizing her potential for leadership, Cadet Gu chose to pursue a college education while training to become an officer. Majoring in biology, she envisions a future as a MEDEVAC pilot.


For Cadet Gu, the obstacle course and rappel tower serve as vital confidence-building exercises. “Confidence is honestly one of the foundational traits for leadership,” said Gu. “If you’re not confident in your decisions, the people you’re leading won’t have confidence in you either.” These activities teach Cadets to think quickly and make decisive actions, even under pressure.


Ricardo Harrington, a Cadet from George Mason University, shared similar sentiments. “We’re out here on day six, doing the obstacle course and the rappel tower,” said Harrington. “For future Cadets I advise to just take one obstacle at a time and go from there.” Harrington has tackled the rappel tower multiple times, and while the initial climb can be daunting, the descent is manageable once you trust the equipment and yourself.


Cadet Harrington joined ROTC to challenge himself and follow in the footsteps of his military family. His ultimate goal is to go active duty and serve as a military police officer, a path influenced by his prior Military Occupational Specialty before joining ROTC.


For Harrington, the obstacle course and rappel tower are more than just physical challenges; they are critical in developing leadership confidence. “If you’re going to be a leader, you have to be able to face the scary stuff head-on,” said Harrington. “Your subordinates won’t look up to you if you can’t do the tough tasks.” These activities help Cadets build the confidence needed to lead others through challenging situations.


Both Cadet Gu and Harrington illustrate the impact of Cadet Summer Training on their personal and professional growth. The obstacle course and rappel tower are more than just physical exercises; they are pivotal experiences that shape the confidence, resilience, and leadership qualities of future military officers. Through these challenges, Cadets learn to trust themselves, make decisive actions, and lead with confidence—traits essential for their success in the army and beyond.

About the Author: Ayiana Andrella