Fort Knox, Ky., – 7th Regiment Advanced Camp Cadets tackled both the 64-foot rappel tower and the confidence course, strengthening confidence and resilience as they complete their final days of Cadet Summer Training.
Cadet Luke Austin, student at Radford University, native of Leesburg, Virginia, conquered the rappel tower before moving on to the confidence course where he worked with the rest of his squad.
“It was a lot of fun. I’ve done most of it before, it’s been a while since I’ve done it- the last time was in Basic three years ago… At the end it all comes down to getting the obstacle done, completing the task, and motivating your comrades,” said Austin.
The confidence course is a great opportunity to get over personal fears and gain a newfound confidence, both in yourself and in your team.
“If you’re scared of heights, you do the obstacle course and you’re going to feel a lot better about yourself,” said Austin. “If you have a comrade that can’t do it, if you have a battle buddy that is unable to get over a wall, and you motivate them, and it really helps them to dig within themselves and say they can do this and they’re going to get over it no matter what. If they can’t do it by themselves, then you have to come and help them, that’s what teamwork is all about.”
With only days left of CST, the Cadets are trying to strike a happy medium between working hard and also staying energized and safe.
“We only have a couple more days left and this really helped re-motivate us. We just got back from the field, a lot of us are kind of dragging and we’re sore and tired, we had a 12-mile ruck, our feet hurt, our backs hurt, but once we completed this, we got back into it and said hey this is fun, this is the Army, and we’re ready do more stuff,” said Austin. “The biggest hurdle was just stepping back and going slower. You know, you want to go in headfirst and go straight into the obstacle, and you have to realize all the safety precautions and have to take it slow and protect yourself. We only have a couple days left so you don’t want to have any falls or big injuries.”
The Cadets did encounter one common obstacle that served to be a greater challenge than anticipated.
“Learn to climb ropes a little better. You see it done and you think hey it’s pretty easy, and it is pretty easy, however you have to be able to first do it successfully, get a rhythm in, get your own way of doing it, and then when you come here you should be able to do it no problem,” said Austin.
Cadet Mackenzie Miller, student at the University of Akron, native of Akron, Ohio, experienced personal triumph at the confidence course as she overcame many challenges for herself.
“I’ve never done a confidence course or an obstacle course like this before, the closest I’ve come is the ones in the trees and you’re harnessed in the whole time, so it was nothing like this where you don’t even have your Kevlars on and you’re just going at it,” said Miller. “I struggled on the first obstacle, I’ve never climbed a rope before, so that was the biggest struggle. The whole time my comrades just kept me going and kept cheering me on, telling me to keep going even when I was struggling.”
Miller kept pushing herself through the obstacles, despite how challenging they were.
“It helps with resilience. The first obstacle I struggled with, and I didn’t think I was going to pass it, and once I got through it, I went to the next obstacle and I started to struggle again, but once I started getting through them, it builds your resilience and you start to overcome those setbacks and get back into the game, so it’s definitely a confidence boost,” said Miller.
The Cadets had to get over the obstacles individually, but they also had to make sure their teammates were feeling supported and encouraged.
“There is a girl, Cadet Brown, in my squad, we’ve constantly motivated each other to keep going because we both have our weaknesses, and the guys kept saying: “come on, come on you got this,” and just having them there supporting you and knowing you have someone backing you up even when you don’t think you are going to accomplish it is amazing,” said Miller.
At the end of the day, the Cadets felt re-energized both personally and collectively as a team.
“This is the last thing that we do that is a must pass must complete event. We just got done with the field and the ruck, so a lot of us are sore, our backs are hurting, our arms, our legs, we have some blisters, but it helped us boost our morale,” said Miller. Like I said, they kept cheering me on, and it made us all a squad again. We got over our irritations we might have had in leadership roles and formed again as one team.”
The Cadets of 7th Regiment Advanced Camp will continue to complete the remainder of their training at CST before graduating from Advanced Camp.