Midterms week can be stressful for anyone, but some Eastern Michigan University students had to rappel down a building and swim with a dummy M-16’s muzzle out of the water while in uniform last week.
Not your typical exams, but members of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps on campus had to successfully complete a rappelling exercise along with the combat water survival test in order to become officers in the Army after graduating from college.
“It was scary as hell,” said EMU cadet Casey Jennings after rappelling down roughly three stories.
“At the top it’s the worst, but it gets better as you go down,” she said. “It’s a lot worse than the one at basic training because of the ledge on the building.”
Jennings wants to become a military police officer and is studying sociology at EMU. She said the activity had some positive attributes.
“It’s definitely helping getting over my fear of heights,” she said.
Senior Imran Saifudin is the cadet battalion commander of nearly 100 cadets at EMU and studies health administration. He wants to go into the medical services corps after becoming a commissioned officer in the Army, and said the rappelling course occurs twice a year in the fall and winter semesters.
“We are one of the few universities in the state that has a campus capable to do this,” he said.
Safety is always a top priority, Saifudin said. “If you let go of the rope the belay will catch you, and you will just hang upside down for a while.”
There are other skills a cadet must learn before scaling down the side of Roosevelt Hall’s north wall.
“What’s awesome is you make your own harness out of rope, and you have to make your own to be certified,” Saifudin said.
Public relations major and EMU senior Mark Aren is a cadet but has 12 years of prior service with National Guard reserve units. He is one of the few members of ROTC that has deployed and was sent to Baghdad three times. The city was considered one of the most dangerous throughout the war in Iraq.
Aren assisted with the rappelling and water qualification and said the challenges bring out characteristics cadets will need to become military leaders.
“The main thing they get is confidence,” he said.
They also received a workout.
“The most physically draining is probably the 15 meter swim, because they are swimming in full uniform with their boots on, and they have to keep the barrel of their rifle out of the water for 15 meters,” Aren said.
55 EMU cadets attempted the combat water survival test’s seven events, and the majority passed, according to Aren.
EMU senior Rachel Fransioli is a cadet studying political and military science along with marketing. She wants to do administrative work after becoming an officer.
“There was a lot of improvement,” she said. “Passing this event is necessary for juniors in order to get commissioned, and all the juniors passed.”
Some tests are more intense than others, and Fransioli said the high-dive jump was probably the most challenging for cadets. It involves leaping from the highest diving board at Jones pool while blindfolded and adorned with military gear.
“It involves the fear of water and the fear of heights, so I would say that’s the toughest one,” she said.
Your takiya fools no one, budallah.
It's an opinion piece, you idiot.
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