By Tanner Cole
Shaun Brooks navigated his way straight through the land navigation course and down a small waterfall.
“I wasn’t going to let LDAC win,” Brooks said. “So I went and found eight more points.”
Brooks was walking along on the outskirts of the course when he, quite literally, stumbled upon Fort Knox’s Dripping Springs. The area was outside the course boundaries and marked off. While disoriented in the early-morning darkness, Brooks missed the warnings.
“I was climbing my way through the bushes when suddenly I hit a wet spot,” Brooks said. “My feet went up and I fell about six to eight feet. Because I had a full Camelback, I bounced off a rock and then landed at the bottom of the waterfall with my legs tangled up in the large tree limbs in the dark. I was sitting in wet rocks with water pouring on top of my head.”
Brooks fell down about six feet before hitting a rock and falling another six to eight feet.
“It was anywhere from about fifteen to twenty feet from where I went down to where I landed,” Brooks said. “I got extremely lucky.”
After completing and passing the test, Brooks checked in with the medics. He had severe bruising and swelling, but he was given the OK to continue his Leader Development and Assessment Course. Brooks was awarded an E for his resiliency and his determination to finish the course.
Three years before starting ROTC, he was stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas. After deployments in the Persian Gulf, he was accepted as a Green to Gold scholarship recipient.
Brooks is now working for his Master’s in Business Administration at Georgia Southern University, in Statesboro, Georgia, and living with his wife and their twin daughters.
“They’re definitely my motivation to keep on going and not back out,” he said.