News: 3-2 SBCT NCOs conduct joint training with 555th Engineer Brigade
Story by Staff Sgt. Christopher McCullough
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Rappel masters from 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, worked in conjunction with Soldiers from 555th Engineer Brigade April 8 to complete rappelling/fast-rope training recertification.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Guenther, a platoon sergeant and rappel master with 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, 3-2 SBCT, explained that rappel masters are required to conduct some rappel instruction every six months; otherwise, they need to be recertified.
"Every rappel master here is a certified rappel master," Guenther added. "However, since we have not performed our [rappel] duties in the last six months, we have to execute (training) and get recertified by a current rappel master. So, this right here is recertifying all the rappel-masters in order to facilitate training on down the line."
As part of their recertification duties, the 3-2 SBCT rappel masters needed to instruct other Soldiers how to rappel, with 555th Engineer Brigade assistance.
During the morning training session, the 3-2 SBCT rappel masters showed their students how to properly tie knots, check equipment and rappel down the wall.
"It builds confidence," stated Guenther. "It's a huge confidence builder. You get up on that 30-foot wall and you're looking down and all you see is ground; some guys freeze, some guys don't."
Confidence is important in military rappelling, as many of these techniques are used in combat to climb down walls or enter buildings through windows, he added.
It comes down to trusting the equipment, Guenther explained.
"If you trust your equipment, yourself, and that your belay-man below isn't going to fail you, you'll have the confidence to complete this task," he said.
That worked for Cpl. Adrian Vaca, of Merced, Calif., a team leader with the 571st Sapper Company, 555th Engineer Brigade, who successfully completed his rappels.
"As a Soldier, it definitely boosted my confidence up more than what it was," he said.
Vaca said there were a thousand things running through his mind when he was atop the tower—safety, a fear of heights, setting the example for his Soldiers.
"I explained to my guys beforehand that I was scared, but that I would still be going up there," Vaca said.
With its rappel masters now recertified, the Arrowhead Brigade will continue to train and partner with units across post, sharing knowledge and expertise whenever possible.