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    Overcoming fears lead to successes

    Overcoming fears lead to successes

    Photo By Cpl. Bridget Keane | The slide for life is an obstacle that has recruits climb to the top of a 25-foot...... read more read more



    Story by Lance Cpl. Bridget Keane 

    Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego

    SAN DIEGO - “Why are your legs shaking, recruit?” asked Gunnery Sgt. Jeffrey E. Liske, chief drill instructor, Company M, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, as he supervised recruits on the “A” frame obstacle at the Confidence Course Aug. 14 aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.

    A recruit of Co. M struggled to stand and balance himself as he reached for a rope atop the 30-foot tall wooden structure. He finally looked down, took a deep breath and replied with a stammer in his voice, “Because this recruit is afraid of heights, sir.”

    It is a natural reaction to feel fear when faced with situations that would make one uncomfortable. Fear is an emotion that is often triggered by thoughts of failure or getting hurt.

    “The Confidence Course takes each recruit completely out of their comfort zone and pushes them mentally,” said Sgt. Jose Ruiz, senior drill instructor, Platoon 3267, Co. M. “It challenges them to face an obstacle that they may or may not fear and overcome it.”

    The Confidence Course is an event that requires recruits to use physical and mental strength to overcome each obstacle. Monkey bars and walls to towering obstacles are just some of the difficulties that recruits will face.

    Every recruit must realize one day they might see combat and conditioning them to face their fears will help them gain the confidence they’ll need to succeed, explained Ruiz, a 28-year-old Palmdale, Calif. native.

    Although the Confidence Course offers the physical challenge using upper-body strength, the biggest challenge is mentally overcoming the fear that lies deep inside every recruit, whether it is getting injured or the embarrassment of not succeeding.

    “They’re all scared; they’ll at an obstacle and think they won’t be able to do it,” said Ruiz. “Once they’re up there doing it, reality hits and they realize they can accomplish it.”

    Many recruits have no problem going through the course and look forward to each obstacle, explained Ruiz. But for every recruit that can confidently accomplish an obstacle, there is always another that gets lost within their fears.

    Every recruit is a product of their environment and past experiences. For Recruit Jamil J. Estayo, Plt. 3267, his fear of heights developed when he was just a young boy.

    “When I was younger, I fell off a 10-foot slope and I’ve been afraid of heights ever since,” explained the 18-year-old, Maui, Hawaii native. “I was in complete shock when it happened.”

    Estayo explained his fear of heights was mainly due to the fact that he was afraid of the aftermath of a fall from a great height. His first challenge was climbing up the stairway to heaven.

    Stairway to heaven is a ladder-like structure that is 30-feet high. There are a series of logs that are equally spaced that the recruits are required to climb.

    “I’m not used to climbing straight up like that,” said Estayo, as he described his experience climbing the vertical structure. “When it was my turn to climb it, all I thought about was my mother on graduation day.”

    With every log he climbed up, Estayo continued to think about his mother and used it as motivation to get to the top and climb back down.

    “It’s all a mental game for us,” said Estayo. “The only thing that can hold you back is yourself.”

    After accomplishing the stairway to heaven obstacle, Estayo is ready to accept any challenges recruit training has to offer.

    “You need to have confidence to overcome your fears in everyday life, as well as believing in yourself in a combat zone to be successful,” said Estayo. “If you’re not confident in yourself, who else is going to be?”

    Co. M pushed through each obstacle with determination to succeed and gained the new found confidence they will be able to apply to their life and Marine Corps career.



    Date Taken: 08.14.2012
    Date Posted: 08.21.2012 18:44
    Story ID: 93596
    Location: SAN DIEGO, CA, US 

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