EAST LYME, Conn. – With a leap of faith and trust in their equipment, over 30 Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets conquered their fears and made the forty foot descent during rappel tower training organized by the Connecticut Army National Guard 6th Recruiting and Retention Battalion, Oct. 25, 2018.
The cadets and their teachers from James Hillhouse High School in New Haven and Crosby High School in Waterbury, participated in the day-long training as part of an ongoing partnership between the Connecticut National Guard and the 15 JROTC programs in Connecticut.
The schools coordinated for the rappel tower as a field trip shortly after JROTC faculty members became aware of the many resources available to support their programs that were identified during a National Guard JROTC symposium sponsored by recruiting during the summer.
Each school’s locally assigned CTNG recruiters provided transportation, equipment, training and meals at no cost. For the cadets, the training provided an opportunity for a unique hands on experience to build their confidence and grow as students. At the conclusion of the day, each cadet received information about the jobs, benefits and training they could receive as members of the National Guard.
For the majority of the students, this was the first time any of them participated in this type of training. Upon arrival to the tower many of the cadets doubted if they could take the leap. With the encouragement of qualified, expert rappel masters, recruiters and their teachers, one-by-one each student made the climb, tied in, inched to the edge of the tower and yelled out, “Lane 2 on Rappel.”
As they safely landed on the ground, they each had a look of relief. But more importantly a sense of accomplishment.