ROTC students practice rappel skills

Leanne O’Neill

Cadets from Army and Air Force ROTC travelled to Camp Ravenna on Friday to learn how to rappel.

The training is designed to prepare Army and Air Force ROTC cadets with the rappelling skills they will need in their future military experiences.

Cadet First Lieutenant Ted Rask said Kent’s ROTC program has been training at Camp Ravenna’s rappel tower for three years. The training was originally for juniors, he said, but has branched out since then.

To begin, Cadet Katie Madonia, taught the cadets how to tie their own harnesses with a knot called the Swiss Seat. After safety checks were completed and cadets were equipped with helmets and gloves, they were taught the proper ways to rappel the tower. Cadets were told the importance of the belayer, who is the person at the bottom of the tower who helps control the ropes. The belayer is able to help the person rappelling if he or she has any trouble.

Following the lesson, Captain Christopher Deaver and Cadet Jack Niederhiser guided the cadets down the tower. Deaver is a certified Freefall Jumpmaster, which means he is an expert paratrooper who is able to teach jumping techniques.

The rappel tower at Camp Ravenna is 50 feet tall, which is about the height of a five-story building.

Freshman exploratory major Daniel Vaughn rappelled the tower for the first time. He said it was hard to lean over the ledge, due to his fear of heights.

Cadet Christine Billie, sophomore aeronautics major, also repelled the tower for the first time.

“The first step transitioning from the top of the tower to the side is the worst,” she said. “A lot of people lose control and need the belayer to stop them.”

Contact Leanne O’Neill at [email protected].