News: Fort Campbell Soldiers take the spotlight at Bridgestone Arena
Story by Sgt. Grant Matthes
As Sgt. 1st Class William McBride and Staff Sgt. Donald Davenport gave the signal to go, six Fort Campbell soldiers wearing Swiss rappel seats started to descend 100-feet from the rafters in three rotations of two.
With utmost precision and timing, the crowd went from silent to an uproar of amazement as the service members made contact with the three-quarter-inch ice beneath their feet.
Instructors from the Sabalauski Air Assault School at Fort Campbell conducted a rappel demonstration at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. Nov. 25 as part of Bridgestone Arena’s Hometown Heroes Night.
“There was a lot more pressure on us for this demonstration compared to other demonstrations,” said Sgt. Nicholas Jones, an instructor at the Sabalauski Air Assault School and a demonstrator for the show.
The instructors conducted three different rappels during the demonstration.
The first rappel demonstrated was the Australian rappel, which consists of the demonstrator sliding head first down the rope.
Jones said that he was nervous and anxious to demonstrate the Australian rappel to a crowd of that size.
“When the audience started cheering, I thought to myself, it’s about to go down, don’t mess up, don’t mess up.” Jones said.
The second rappel demonstrated was the combat rappel where the person conducts the rappel with their back to the ground with more than 40-pounds of combat gear.
The final demonstration was the Hollywood rappel, which is the same as the combat rappel, but the demonstrator wears no additional combat equipment.
“It was awesome and pretty exciting,” Jordan Hansard, a Predators fan said. “It got everyone really pumped up to see the demonstration in action.”
In addition to the demonstration, the Predators wore camouflaged jerseys during their warm up that were auctioned off to support the Defending The Blue Line charity. Defending The Blue Line works to ensure that children of military members are afforded every opportunity to participate in the game of hockey.