Army National Guard conducts air assault training at Camp Gruber
Thursday, April 13th 2006, 9:46 AM CDT
They say the quickest way from point A to point B is a straight line, but what if that straight line is straight "down". Camp Gruber is having its first rappelling course in 12 years.
And as News on 6 reporter Steve Berg tells us, it's tough. 15 feet up at Camp Gruber and all these men have is a rope, a carabiner and hopefully a little bit of knowledge between them and a painful fall. "This is not just to come out here and run, jump, and play around type course. It's highly technical for the 10 or 11 days that these students are here." Colonel Ken Moore believes the hardest part about rappelling is actually the academic side of it. "It's so technical that people's lives depend on it."
But there's clearly a physical challenge too. "Y'know a lot of hand, eye, arm coordination, this is tough stuff."
Oren Dennis: "Yeah, just a good adrenaline rush, get the heart pumping really good." And confidence, they're going to need it, because eventually they'll have to go off a 35-foot platform and this isn't even the highest one. That would be the 65-foot platform next door.
Col. Ken Moore: "This is a demanding course. This is 10 or 11 days that these students, the ones that are successful, they won't forget soon. I promise."
Rappelling has actually become somewhat obsolete in today's military. It's value here is mainly in confidence building. This is the first air assault course at Camp Gruber since budget cuts ended it in 1994.
Staff Sgt. Jason Kasner, who's originally from Pryor, is here teaching from a camp in Georgia. "We always see the Oklahoma troops out there and I'm glad to see that Oklahoma has a course and they comprise most of our students out here." Where they learn what they're made of.