How Marine Recruits Battle Their Fear Of Heights At Boot Camp
Recruit: I’m slipping. Please! Please help! I don’t want to do this. Instructor: You’re fine.
Recruit: No, I’m not. Please! Instructor: We’re trying to help you, son. Recruit: I don’t want to go down! Narrator: These Marine
recruits are training on the rappel tower at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island, South Carolina. According to the depot,
the rappel tower is a training event designed
to instill confidence and introduce recruits to environments they may encounter while
serving in the Corps. Rappel tower happens
on day 25 of boot camp, a particularly busy day where recruits also train in the dreaded gas chamber. Instructor: Run! Narrator: Hundreds of
recruits wait their turn to scale the stairs of Holberton Tower, which stands around 47 feet tall. Instructor: You’re gonna go from the front to the back. Narrator: First, instructors
brief the recruits on their safety equipment, which consists of a helmet, gloves, and a safety harness. Recruits learn two different types of rappelling techniques, the first of which is
known as fast-roping, where the recruit quickly
descends using a thick rope. John Ovalle: As Marines, we
use fast-roping techniques to get as many troops into the fight off of a helicopter as fast as possible. Narrator: The second technique
is known as static rappel, where recruits utilize
the tower’s wooden face to perform a controlled descent. Ovalle: For static rappel, you’ll utilize the rappelling on cliffsides to get into a building in the most expeditious manner. Instructor: Grab ahold of my right hand with your right hand.
That is your brake hand. Put it on the lower center of your back. Narrator: Recruits learn
how to use their hands to perform different
functions while rappelling. The left hand holds the rope in front and is known as the guide hand. The right hand is known as the brake hand. Instructor: Shoot your arm
out and go down the tower! Recruit: Aye, aye, sir! Narrator: When the recruit is told to shoot out their brake hand, gravity quickly takes effect. Recruit: For me, the rappel tower was hard ’cause I sorta had a fear of heights. You have to trust the rope, and, I mean, all the gear here on the island is 100% safe, so there’s nothing to be worried about. You’ll be safe all the time. Narrator: Since safety is so important, the line can move slowly… Instructor: Series!
Recruits: Aye, aye, sir! Narrator: Resulting in a long wait for recruits on the ground level. Instructor: Golf Company!
Recruits: Aye, aye, sir! Instructor: Golf Company!
Recruits: Aye, aye, sir! Narrator: But the drill
instructors find ways to keep them occupied. Instructor: E-5! Recruits: Sir! E-5 in the
Marine Corps is sergeant! Narrator: Including testing them on basic recruit knowledge. Instructor: Series! Recruit: This recruit, please help! Narrator: But for some recruits, the long wait creates anxiety. Recruit: I’m slipping! Please! Please help! I don’t want to do this. Instructor: You’re fine.
Recruit: No, I’m not. Please! I don’t want to go down! Narrator: At Parris Island,
fear is not an option. And those with a fear of heights have no choice but to conquer it.