Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Cape Photo of the Day - Photo #84

I attended the Herndon Monument climb at the US Naval Academy yesterday afternoon. It marks the end of the plebe year for the newest class of midshipmen. They simply, as a group, have to make it to the peak of a lard covered obelisk and replace the dixie cup plebe hat sitting atop it with an officer's hat.

Except there's nothing simple about it. It's like the most god-awful 3D game of Twister you ever saw. The middies have to create a human pyramid of sorts while using what they can of their attire to clear grease off the monument. Just as the prize is in reach, the whole structure collapses, and they have to start again. All the while, they are being hosed down with water (I'm not sure if that is to increase the challenge or to keep them cool - maybe both). It's a testament to persistence and teamwork befitting a class of our future warriors.

A canon fires every half hour from the start of the climb, and we were startled by that canon four times before the class of 2015 finally reached their goal. After a lot of failed attempts, suddenly it all inexplicably came together at about the 2 hour 20 minute mark, and a midshipman was at the top switching out the hats. Legend has it he will be the first of his class to achieve the rank of admiral.

Congratulations to the USNA Class of 2015 - plebes no more. They have completed a freshman year of higher education like no other in the world. I know their families are proud as are all of us here in Annapolis and the Cape. A special shout out to our two sponsor midshipmen - George Strickland and Griffin Burke. It's been a joy to do what we could to get them through this year in one piece. Well done, guys!

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