By Fort Sill Tribune staffMay 3, 2019
FORT SILL, Okla. (May 3, 2019) -- Fort Sill's 434th Field Artillery Brigade teamed with the Cameron University ROTC program, and Oklahoma Army National Guard to provide Junior ROTC cadets with a confidence and team building experience April 26, at the Treadwell Tower complex here.
About 70 JROTC cadets from Lawton's three high schools (Lawton, MacArthur, and Eisenhower); Wichita Falls' Rider, Hirschi and Wichita Falls High schools; and Putnam City (Okla.) West High School and Guthrie (Okla.) High School participated in the event which began about 9 a.m.
"It was nerve-wracking, but very fun," said Lawton High School JROTC Cadet Isabella Shinsako, 17, of the rappel off 40-foot Treadwell Tower. "I'm not typically afraid of heights, but just being attached by a rope was kind of scary. I feel very confident now that I've done it."
The activity had a couple goals, said Lt. Col. Seth Hall, CU professor of military science.
"We are exposing JROTC cadets to a physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging event to build confidence," said Hall, "and we're also doing this for the ROTC cadets so that they can provide mentorship and learn how to plan events."
Several staff from the 434th FA Brigade's Headquarters and Headquarters Support; 11 drill sergeants from B Battery, 1st Battalion, 19th Field Artillery, and a dozen CU cadets ran the activities.
Capt. Dustin Kisner, B/1-19th FA commander, said the Treadwell Tower complex simulates obstacles that Soldiers may encounter in a combat environment. Basic combat trainees go through the complex during their first week of training.
"The purpose is to push past your fears, and to realize what your body can accomplish," Kisner said. "It builds confidence."
The JROTC cadets first learned how to put on a ground Swiss seat harness. They then rappelled the 10-foot ground rappelling wall. Drill sergeants and cadre regularly checked to ensure the cadets' harnesses remained secure. Then it was on to the long rappel.
JROTC Cadet JuanCarlos Negron Gonzalez, 17, a senior at Eisenhower High School, had experienced Treadwell Tower in a previous JROTC event.
"I'm definitely learning how to be safe on high objects, staying down on all fours, and things like that," he said.
CU ROTC Military Science 3 Cadet Audrey Shifflet, public affairs officer, said Cameron does the Treadwell Tower event every year with the JROTC cadets.
"We're trying to give them a little taste of the Army ... while they learn about leadership and teamwork," she said.
Retired 1st Sgt. Brian Hargin, LHS JROTC instructor, was there with 11 of his students, who ranged from freshmen to seniors.
The Treadwell training builds their character, their inner strength as they move forward in their lives, he said. He said his cadets were doing great rappelling down Treadwell Tower.
Capt. Christopher Buck, Oklahoma Army National Guard recruiter in Midwest City, was on hand to promote opportunities to the JROTC cadets.
One program he let them know about was the Split Option Program, where high school juniors enlist and go through basic combat training during the summer. They return to their high school to finish their senior year. He was also promoting the National Guard's officer programs.
He added that the National Guard provided the T-shirts for the JROTC cadets, and the lunch of grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, and soft drinks for everyone.