CAMP GONZALVES, Japan - “Snap, wrap, snap, lock — Move to the edge and get into a good, tight ‘L’ position, look over your right shoulder, say your last name ‘on rappel’ … Go!”
These were the commands given to more than 40 cadets from Kubasaki High School’s Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps, who had the unique experience of participating in a rappel-training package offered at the Jungle Warfare Training Center in Camp Gonzalves.
Prior to executing the 70-foot rappel, cadets were given periods of instruction on knot-tying, preparing an improvised seat harness, safety and proper procedures for executing a descent.
After instruction, the students were qualified to serve as a belay for fellow cadets.
“The purpose of doing this is to instill confidence in the cadets and (develop) abilities to overcome challenges,” said retired Capt. Kenneth Gipson, senior Marine instructor for the program. “Coming down this large (cliff) is a challenge.”
Gipson emphasized that these types of confidence-building exercises are exactly what the MCJROTC is all about.
MCJROTC is not intended to be a recruiting program for the Marine Corps, said Gipson, whose responsibility it is to ensure lessons taught in the program extend far beyond the classroom.
Specifically, the program aims to develop character, leadership and civic responsibility.
Many of the students said the experience was fun.
“Everyone got some good experiences out of (this training), and it was a good time,” said cadet Jesse Tarker.
Tarker is one of thousands of students in more than 250 schools currently enrolled in the MCJROTC program, which challenges its participants to learn from their experiences, like rappelling, while in the program and apply them to real life.
Most of the students, like cadet Auston B. Cole, can’t wait to get the opportunity to do it again.
“It’s a great confidence builder,” said Cole. “I can’t wait to come back next year.”
This work, Kubasaki cadets descend cliff to ascend in life, by LCpl Mike Granahan, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.