FORT KNOX, KENTUCKY – Cadets from 6th Regiment, Advanced Camp arrive to the Rappel Tower and Confidence Course on June 30, 2024. Both courses are meant to test the Cadets confidence levels both physically and mentally. The Rappel Tower tests confidence on heights and trust over the equipment. While in the Confidence Course tests confidence in the Cadets abilities.

“It was nerve racking when you first lean yourself away from the wall.” said John Schneider, from Oklahoma State University , after he finished landing from the Rappel Tower. Schneider had prior experience with rappelling, saying that he was always afraid of heights, but always trusted in the process and equipment.

“I’m not the most comfortable with heights, but the cadre here are fantastic,” said Schneider. “They’re making sure everything is running safe and the Cadets are highly motivated as well which just makes it much better.”

Schneider commented on how the Cadre and his wife from home motivate him to continue his training.

“For every single NCO that I’ve had, I’ve never seen bad leadership,” said Schneider. “They’ve really pushed me and showed me exactly what it takes, but also to see the personal side of leading soldiers, then of course, my wife as well, has been pushing for this”.

Schneider was prior enlisted into the Oklahoma National Guard, going to various airpoints/army missions with aviation units to provide air traffic control services. Schneider after ROTC wants to join the Navy, a dream that he’s always wanted. He is currently majoring in aviation management/aerospace administration operations with a minor in military science.

“My goal is to become a pilot, especially after being in air traffic control,” said Schneider. “Then my close second is engineers, and that’s what I was when I was in active duty”.

Schneider encourages Cadets to face your fears with confidence and to listen to instructors, said Schneider. “The Cadre got you it’s 100 percent safe, they wouldn’t have you do it if it wasn’t safe.”

While some Cadets learn to rappel, the other half would take on the Confidence Course. The course is meant to test Cadet’s physical and mental abilities by trying to complete nine different obstacles such as “Six Fault”, “Confidence Climb”, “Tough One”, etc.

After being rejected from the Navy Academy, Cadet Jason Albea from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University wanted to join ROTC after being offered a scholarship.

“If you overcome these obstacles, believe me you’ll get mentally stronger and you will have more confidence in yourself,” said Albea after going through the “Weaver” obstacle course.

Albea comes from a history of family in the military, saying that most of his family were part of the Navy.

“My dad was a Navy officer, and both my grandparents were both Navy chiefs,” said Albea. “My uncles, and some of my cousins are Navy chiefs or NCOS”.

Albea would go on to say that his father was his biggest supporter through all his training, including when he was joining ROTC.

“It’s a little cliche, but he’s definitely my biggest hero,” said Albea. “I wanted to be just like him when I grew up”.

Cadets were pushed to their limits, but gained confidence in not just their abilities, but also within themselves. Although he originally wanted to join the Navy, Albea wants to continue his work in the military, not knowing where he wants to be in the military, but still strives to continue the league his family has done.

“Keep a positive attitude the whole time,” said Albea. “At the end of the day, the only way you’re gonna, the only way you’re coming down is going down the obstacle, so might as well just get it done and have fun while you can.”

About the Author: Elizabeth Peterson