DVIDS – News – Cadet Conquers 64ft Rappel Tower, Confidence Course

By Savannah Baird

“It was like every horror movie where someone is about to fall off a cliff,” said Jasmine Valentine, an Army Reserve Officers Training Corps cadet, 2nd Regiment , forward camp, describing the feeling of being on the 64-foot abseil tower at Fort Knox. , Ky.

Valentine is from the University of North Georgia where she did similar things at the abseil tower with her ROTC program, but those experiences didn’t take away the fear she had of participating in the training event at the rappel tower.

“I have a deathly fear of heights,” she said.

Valentine said some encouraging words she had received from her team, and Cadre helped calm her nerves. Although the cadets knew well in advance that they were going to descend the rappel tower, they were not told when until the briefing the day before their descent.

Valentine said that since she told her team about her fear of heights, as soon as they received the briefing, she was asked if she needed help. The members of her squad encouraged her, told her “you understand” and even offered to go down with her.

Once daylight came and Valentine walked up the stairs, she said she felt like she had tunnel vision; his senses seemed to fade but his hearing was heightened.

“I heard someone say, ‘there’s only one way, you don’t take the stairs,'” Valentine said.

After completing the small 45-degree angle training wall and having her gear checked, the future army chief was faced with a climb to the top of the menacing abseil tower.

“I took a little break on the stairs, looked up and was like ‘oh my god, that’s really high,'” Valentine said.

After reaching the top of the tower, the little cadet was reluctantly ready to rappel. At the edge of the tower, Second Lieutenant Lauryn Jeans, the Executive Officer of the Trust Course, guided her through the process.

“She was like, ‘hey, you can trust me, you can trust me’ — but we just met,” Valentine said.

Since Jeans was one of the protesters, Valentine said she felt safer because “it obviously means she knows what she’s doing.”

Jeans, was calm and reassured. She punched him and told him to smile for the camera before walking down.

Valentine said it made her laugh, which ultimately helped her tame her nerves by standing sideways against the wall. Once she started to pull back and tried to do boundaries, she heard “hey, you’re halfway there”, which made her feel more relaxed.

“I was kind of like waiting, really? And I relaxed until I got to the end,” she said.

Once the cadets completed the wall side of the tower, they went through the process of checking the gear to ensure it was still tight and made adjustments as needed.

Then they went back up the stairs to descend from one of the two open sides of the tower.

The objective of the wall side was for cadets to place their feet on the wall between bounding movements while maintaining control. The open side offered the possibility to practice abseiling in an open space.

Valentine said she surprisingly found the open side to be easier on her.

In addition to the multitude of supportive peers, she said what pulled her off the edge was the thought, “I’m afraid of heights, but the only way to overcome this is to trust the rope,” she said.

Once Valentine completed the confidence course, which featured obstacles that also triggered her fear of heights, and completed both sides of the tower, her peers began to applaud her and offer her gifts. words of pride. By the end of the day, Valentine had faced and overcome her fear of heights three times.

Date taken: 15.06.2022
Date posted: 22.06.2022 10:07
Story ID: 423492
Location: FORT KNOX, KY, USA

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