Freshmen at US Naval Academy Complete Traditional Year-End Challenge

First-year students at the United States Naval Academy (USNA) in Maryland completed the traditional Herndon Monument Climb on May 22, marking the end of their “plebe” year at the academy.

Video shared on Twitter shows plebes cheering as a human pyramid allows one student to remove a “dixie cup” hat on top of the monument, which is greased in vegetable shortening, and replace it with an upperclassman’s hat. The Class of 2024 finished with a time of 3 hours and 41 minutes.

After completion of the climb, freshmen are no longer called plebes but instead “fourth class midshipmen,” the USNA said. Plebes are required to remove their shoes before the climb.

The 21-foot monument is named for Cmdr William Lewis Herndon, who went down with his doomed ship the SS Central America in a hurricane in 1857, after helping 152 of those aboard to safety. Credit: US Naval Academy Public Affairs via Storyful

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