San Diego --
While the rappel tower looks tall from the bottom, recruits say it looks even taller from the top.
Recruits of Company F, 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, rappelled down a 60-foot tower aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot June 28.
For many recruits the fear of heights consumed them entirely.
“On a one-to-10 of fear, I was an eight,” said Recruit Gregorio Montes, guide, Platoon 2133. “When I got to the top my stomach tightened up, but I figured I might as well keep going because I was going to have to come down somehow.”
Drill instructors know from first-hand experience the fear recruits deal with. With that they do their best to keep the recruits calm during the exercise.
“I remember (as a recruit) being on top of the wall and not wanting to come down,” said Sgt. Bradley W. Havenar, senior drill instructor, Plt. 2134.
“Then one of my drill instructors yelled and I got down as quickly as possible,” said Havenar with a chuckle.
Drill instructors were not the only ones trying to keep recruits calm. Recruit leadership did their best to set a good example.
“Being the guide, even if you are scared you have to hide that fear and be strong for your platoon,” said Recruit John W. Schulz, guide, Plt. 2134.
Schulz said he understands the importance of the exercise because he realizes recruits learn and grow through difficult experiences.
“Something like this is very important because in their Marine Corps career they are most likely going to be asked to do something they will be scared of,” said Schulz. “Facing fear is part of a Marine’s job and that’s what I think they’re learning today.”
One-by-one recruits zipped down the tower. Though some recruits struggled, once finished, most appeared to walk a little taller after their accomplishment.
“It feels incredible. I feel like you can do a lot more than you think you can, said Montes. “I overcame my fear of heights—or at least heights as high as the tower.”
The recruits finished their rappelling and in turn, now have learned the basics of a new skill.
“Some of these recruits have military occupational specialties that may never require this,” said Havenar. “But some might (use it in their MOS), and now they have some knowledge that will put them in a better position to succeed.”