By Sgt. Lisa Rodriguez-Presley, 300th Mobile Public Affairs DetachmentJuly 20, 2012
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (July 17, 2012) -- Standing in front of Warrior Tower as Soldiers rappel down it, Sgt. Marcia D. Selman of Galesburg, Ill., with the 4224th U.S. Army Hospital, from Des Moines, Iowa, gets ready for her turn.
"This is a great way for us to get refresher training," she said. "If we needed to rappel into an area to get to a Soldier to give them medical treatment, we could feel confident in our ability to do it."
Selman and other members of her unit are participating in Operation Golden Cargo, which is an annual two-week training opportunity for many Reserve and National Guard units to use their military occupational specialty training in real-world situations.
Although there haven't been any serious incidents for the medics to attend to so far, to make sure they are ready, the unit has been conducting a variety of training classes to sharpen their skills in case of an emergency.
The training schedule has been full for the 4224th, with topics ranging from suturing a wound, to tactical building entry and casualty recovery. Much of the training has been conducted in conjunction with Soldiers from the 209th Quartermaster Company, but Soldiers from the 4224th in addition to medical tasks, have been receiving refresher training in warrior tasks, such as rappelling and water survival.
For some, the return to Warrior Tower brings back memories of basic training. Several Soldiers once stood on the edge of the tower looking down as their drill sergeants talked them through the obstacle. Today, it is their fellow Soldiers doing the encouraging as they step onto the ledge and lower themselves down the wall.
"I was here in 2006 for basic and Advanced Individual Training," said Sgt. Nicole E. George of the 209th. "One of my most vivid memories of basic training happened on this tower. I was really scared, and one of my drill sergeants noticed it and asked me if I trusted him, then laughed when I didn't respond. I was afraid of heights, but still faced that fear and went down the tower."
Today, rappelling is more low-key, but it serves a purpose; it is not only a tactical refresher for the medics, but is also an opportunity for all the Soldiers to build confidence and foster a sense of teamwork.
"I did better than I thought I would, and the instructors were great," said Selman. "All the Soldiers here were so encouraging I think it was a great experience for everyone."