By: Alex Mclaughlin
Photo By: Erica Lafser
FORT KNOX, Kentucky—
LDAC 7th Regt. Cadets tested themselves Tuesday on Fort Knox’s 60-foot rappel tower.
The training began when Cadets gathered around cadre for detailed instruction on how to properly descend the 60-foot wooden tower. A full demonstration on the correct way to execute every aspect of the descent was given before Cadets were thrust into the action.
Safety is the main concern with the cadre, as a mistake on the rappel tower can yield harsh consequences.
Cadets were eager to get to the top of the tower despite the danger. Many Cadets acknowledged their fear of heights, but this did not stop them from entering the fight to be first in line to rappel down from 60 feet.
Steven Andrews, ROTC Cadet at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., said the backgrounds of the individuals in 7th Regt. changed the dynamic of their experience.
“My time on the rappel tower was a bit different,” Andrews said. “Several of us attended Air Assault School last year, so this basically became a competition for us. We all wanted to look our best coming off the tower.”
Jordan Wisniewski, ROTC Cadet at Edinboro University in Edinboro, Pa., also attended Air Assault School last year.
“I used to be afraid of heights,” Wisniewski said. “Then I got to rappel out of helicopters at Air Assault School. Ever since I went there, I look forward to opportunities like this.”
Competition was the main focus for some, but others found their competition was only themselves and their fear of heights.
Chad Boyer, ROTC Cadet at Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Al., said overcoming fears is something he has become used to while at LDAC.
“It is a fun experience,” Boyer said. “I was nervous just because of my fear of heights. Eventually you just learn to push yourself through these types of things.”
LDAC gives cadets the opportunity to prove their leadership abilities in many different situations. The rappel tower, which is held in conjunction with the confidence course, allows Cadets to show cadre members their commitment to their training at Fort Knox.
Gabe Grewe, ROTC Cadet at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Va., said he had no questions about himself coming down the wall of the rappel tower.
“You get a bit nervous looking down at first,” Grewe said. “Once you are on the wall, it all goes away. I just follow the instructions of the cadre and the techniques they teach get me through safely.”