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By Pamela Wood, The Baltimore Sun | May 19, 2014
The Naval Academy is about molding military leaders, but when it comes to scaling a greased-up, 21-foot-tall obelisk, it takes teamwork. That's what propelled 19-year-old Midshipman Michael Landry to the top of a writhing human pyramid Monday. He topped the academy's Herndon Monument with a midshipman's hat after 2 hours, 19 minutes, and 35 seconds - a feat celebrated by his classmates with jumping, cheering and singing. "Plebes no more! Plebes no more!" members of the Class of 2017 chanted.
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NEWS
By Pamela Wood, The Baltimore Sun | May 19, 2014
The Naval Academy is about molding military leaders, but when it comes to scaling a greased-up, 21-foot-tall obelisk, it takes teamwork. That's what propelled 19-year-old Midshipman Michael Landry to the top of a writhing human pyramid Monday. He topped the academy's Herndon Monument with a midshipman's hat after 2 hours, 19 minutes, and 35 seconds - a feat celebrated by his classmates with jumping, cheering and singing. "Plebes no more! Plebes no more!" members of the Class of 2017 chanted.
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NEWS
By Andrea F. Siegel, The Baltimore Sun | May 20, 2013
With a flick of his wrist, a U.S. Naval Academy baseball player from Orlando, Fla., tossed an upperclassman's hat atop the Herndon Monument on Monday, leading his 2016 classmates to launch into cheers of "Plebes no more!" amid roars from onlookers. "I was considering jumping and making it a little more dramatic," said Patrick Lien - who is a catcher, not pitcher, on the Navy team, "but I didn't want to fall and make a scene. " The Herndon climb was itself a scene: hundreds of plebes, or freshmen, charged a slickened, 21-foot tall granite obelisk at the service academy in Annapolis.
NEWS
By Andrea F. Siegel, The Baltimore Sun | May 20, 2013
With a flick of his wrist, a U.S. Naval Academy baseball player from Orlando, Fla., tossed an upperclassman's hat atop the Herndon Monument on Monday, leading his 2016 classmates to launch into cheers of "Plebes no more!" amid roars from onlookers. "I was considering jumping and making it a little more dramatic," said Patrick Lien - who is a catcher, not pitcher, on the Navy team, "but I didn't want to fall and make a scene. " The Herndon climb was itself a scene: hundreds of plebes, or freshmen, charged a slickened, 21-foot tall granite obelisk at the service academy in Annapolis.
NEWS
By Neal Thompson and Neal Thompson,SUN STAFF | May 19, 1998
A thousand semiclad men and women ran screaming across the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy yesterday toward a lard-slathered column of granite.Why? Because that's how it was done last year and each of the 80 years before that. At this training ground for future military officers, tradition is like a mascot.To the cheers of thousands, academy freshmen spent two sweat-soaked hours and 20 slip-sliding minutes getting one midshipman to the top of Herndon Monument. But what yesterday's crowds missed was the numerous, lesser-known customs and rituals that have become the tics of this 153-year-old institution.
NEWS
By Molly Knight and Molly Knight,SUN STAFF | May 20, 2005
Stocky mids at the base, tall ones in the middle, and on top - the scrawniest. That was the winning formula for the determined freshmen in the Naval Academy's Class of 2008, who yesterday scaled the Herndon Monument, an annual rite of passage that marks the end of plebe year, in excellent time. The class reached the top of the 21-foot, grease-slicked granite monument in an hour and 16 minutes - the fastest time since 1988, when it took 43 minutes. At 10:16 a.m., the wobbly tower of squirming bodies suddenly hoisted John Olsen, 19, toward the top of the obelisk.
NEWS
May 23, 1992
A photo caption in Saturday's editions of The Sun incorrectly reported the time U.S. Naval Academy plebes needed to climb the lard-coated Herndon Monument -- an annual rite marking the end of their freshman year. A Silver Spring midshipman made it in 2 hours, 21 minutes and 37 seconds.The Sun regrets the error.
NEWS
May 25, 2010
I found your article, "Herndon Climb Holds The Grease" (May 25), to be not only amusing but indicative of how introducing substitutions for either safety or political correctness destroys the spirit and symbolism of traditions. I believe that the Sea Trials are important, but what holds fast in the participant's mind is the unconventionality of an activity such as climbing the greased Herndon Monument. To me, it represents similar events and imitations that I have participated in with my life.
NEWS
May 21, 2004
Several hundred sweating Midshipmen claw their way upward yesterday during the annual Plebe Week ritual of climbing the Herndon Monument at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. Hoisted by classmates, Philip "Flip" Johnson (right) of Rock Hill, S.C., finally places an upperclassman's cap on the summit of the 21-foot obelisk coated with lard, a rite of passage marking the end of freshman year. But their celebration was brief. Excited plebes forgot to complete the first step of the challenge: Remove the plebe cap that had been secured on the monument's tip by upperclassmen.
NEWS
November 26, 1999
EVERY college campus in the United States must re-examine the spirit-building traditions and high jinks - bonfires, monument climbs and the like -- that may still seem benign.At Texas A&M, a monstrous pile of timbers crumbled with dozens of student workers perched on or near it. Twelve were killed and others badly injured.The proud Texas Aggie family was plunged into mourning, self-examination and, without doubt, a dozen or more lawsuits. Anyone who saw photographs of the crash scene had to be horrified.
NEWS
By Andrea F. Siegel, The Baltimore Sun | May 22, 2012
They are plebes no longer. It took two hours, 10 minutes and 13 seconds Tuesday for the freshman class at the U.S. Naval Academy to have one of its own knock a plebe's "dixie cup" hat from the top of the greased Herndon Monument and replace it with a midshipman's hat, symbolically morphing the group into 4th-class Mids. Andrew Craig, 19, of Tulsa, Okla., achieved the goal in the noisy and slippery event that drew between 800 and 1,000 plebes, officials said. Tradition holds that the student who caps the monument will be first in the class to reach the rank of admiral, though that has yet to happen.
NEWS
May 25, 2010
I found your article, "Herndon Climb Holds The Grease" (May 25), to be not only amusing but indicative of how introducing substitutions for either safety or political correctness destroys the spirit and symbolism of traditions. I believe that the Sea Trials are important, but what holds fast in the participant's mind is the unconventionality of an activity such as climbing the greased Herndon Monument. To me, it represents similar events and imitations that I have participated in with my life.
NEWS
By Andrea F. Siegel, The Baltimore Sun | May 12, 2010
The Naval Academy's traditional Herndon climb — a scramble to replace the hat at the top of a 21-foot-tall, lard-coated obelisk — may slip-slide away. Vice Adm. Jeffrey L. Fowler, departing superintendent of the Naval Academy, said Wednesday that the greasy climb that signals the end of freshman year every spring has an uncertain future. Though the traditional competition will take place later this month, there have been concerns about injuries as the plebes trample and tumble over each other to replace the plebe "Dixie cup" hat at the top with an upperclassman's hat. Some plebes have been hurt, but none seriously, as the midshipmen step on faces, heads and shoulders.
NEWS
By Josh Mitchell and Josh Mitchell,Sun reporter | January 18, 2008
It's one of the Naval Academy's most enduring traditions: Hundreds of shirtless plebes mark the end of their first year by swarming a grease-slicked, 21-foot-obelisk, climbing over one another in a race to the top. Now, academy officials are asking: Is this safe? In a terse statement this week, academy officials said they will assemble a student committee to study changes to the Herndon Monument Climb. "Like many customs and traditions, they evolve, they change over time," said Cmdr.
NEWS
By Molly Knight and Molly Knight,SUN STAFF | May 20, 2005
Stocky mids at the base, tall ones in the middle, and on top - the scrawniest. That was the winning formula for the determined freshmen in the Naval Academy's Class of 2008, who yesterday scaled the Herndon Monument, an annual rite of passage that marks the end of plebe year, in excellent time. The class reached the top of the 21-foot, grease-slicked granite monument in an hour and 16 minutes - the fastest time since 1988, when it took 43 minutes. At 10:16 a.m., the wobbly tower of squirming bodies suddenly hoisted John Olsen, 19, toward the top of the obelisk.
NEWS
May 21, 2004
Several hundred sweating Midshipmen claw their way upward yesterday during the annual Plebe Week ritual of climbing the Herndon Monument at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. Hoisted by classmates, Philip "Flip" Johnson (right) of Rock Hill, S.C., finally places an upperclassman's cap on the summit of the 21-foot obelisk coated with lard, a rite of passage marking the end of freshman year. But their celebration was brief. Excited plebes forgot to complete the first step of the challenge: Remove the plebe cap that had been secured on the monument's tip by upperclassmen.
NEWS
By Josh Mitchell and Josh Mitchell,Sun reporter | January 18, 2008
It's one of the Naval Academy's most enduring traditions: Hundreds of shirtless plebes mark the end of their first year by swarming a grease-slicked, 21-foot-obelisk, climbing over one another in a race to the top. Now, academy officials are asking: Is this safe? In a terse statement this week, academy officials said they will assemble a student committee to study changes to the Herndon Monument Climb. "Like many customs and traditions, they evolve, they change over time," said Cmdr.
NEWS
By Andrea F. Siegel, The Baltimore Sun | May 22, 2012
They are plebes no longer. It took two hours, 10 minutes and 13 seconds Tuesday for the freshman class at the U.S. Naval Academy to have one of its own knock a plebe's "dixie cup" hat from the top of the greased Herndon Monument and replace it with a midshipman's hat, symbolically morphing the group into 4th-class Mids. Andrew Craig, 19, of Tulsa, Okla., achieved the goal in the noisy and slippery event that drew between 800 and 1,000 plebes, officials said. Tradition holds that the student who caps the monument will be first in the class to reach the rank of admiral, though that has yet to happen.
NEWS
By Ariel Sabar and Ariel Sabar,SUN STAFF | May 20, 2002
On a glorious spring day in 1976, as his classmates cheered from below, Dwight Crevelt clung to the top of a grease-slicked granite monument at the Naval Academy and tore a sailor's cap from the peak. This boded well. One of the academy's most enduring legends is that the freshman who climbs to the top of Herndon Monument is fated to be the first in his class to make admiral, the Navy's highest rank. It didn't work out that way. Crevelt's eyesight went from bad to worse, and he dropped out of the academy the next year.
NEWS
November 26, 1999
EVERY college campus in the United States must re-examine the spirit-building traditions and high jinks - bonfires, monument climbs and the like -- that may still seem benign.At Texas A&M, a monstrous pile of timbers crumbled with dozens of student workers perched on or near it. Twelve were killed and others badly injured.The proud Texas Aggie family was plunged into mourning, self-examination and, without doubt, a dozen or more lawsuits. Anyone who saw photographs of the crash scene had to be horrified.
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