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Training & Education Command (TECOM)


Training & Education Command (TECOM)

United States Marine Corps

Charlie Company’s leap of faith

By LT David J. Carlson | | April 23, 2010

The recruits of Company C experienced one of their final training obstacles on April 9, before the Crucible event — the depot’s 70-foot rappel tower.  Rappel is a critical training event that instills confidence in recruits and teaches an important combat skill.

As the chaplain for 1st Battalion, I have had the privilege of being able to observe and participate in this training day 58 event with each 1st Bn. company.  I am always amazed at how many recruits ask me to pray for them right before they rappel down the tower.  It is indeed a daunting experience for some recruits, especially those who are seriously afraid of heights.

During rappel training, each recruit learned how to tie his own harness as well as how to use a belay device to create rope friction.  Once these lessons were mastered, each recruit was required to take a leap of faith down the formidable tower, with only a rope and a newly-acquired skill guiding them to solid ground. 

A leap of faith for some recruits it truly was, for many recruits had second thoughts once they made it to the tower summit.  “Wow! That’s a long way down chaplain!” one recruit said to me with trepidation.  But, eventually, all those who hesitated were successfully motivated by their drill instructors to quickly rappel down the abyss — whether they wanted to or not!  Ultimately, every single Co. C recruit succeeded in their mission.

The recruits of Co. C who conquered the rappel tower are now proud members of the United States Marine Corps, and we at  st Bn. are so proud of them.  Over the past 13 weeks, they have been tested — yes, even by a formidable tower — and they each have been found worthy to bear the prestigious and time-honored title of United States Marine.

My daily prayer for these new Marines is that they will be able to overcome and conquer any future tower or obstacle they may face as they honorably serve and protect our great nation, and that they will do so with the virtues of unwavering commitment, selfless sacrifice and Semper Fidelis guiding them along the way.  Semper Fi Marines!