Near ninety degree temperatures, a brief storm, fifty pounds of lard, and a 20 foot tall obelisk were no match for the United States Naval Academy class of 2018. Plebe Javarri Beachum from Port St. Joe, Florida was the one to place a midshipman’s cover atop the monument this afternoon. The victory was sealed with a fire of a cannon on the Yard at 3:08pm.
The Herndon Monument Climb is the traditional culmination of plebe year at the Naval Academy. Demonstrating the teamwork and perseverance they have learned during their first year at the Academy, the plebes build a human pyramid to remove the “Dixie Cup” hat at the top of the lard-covered monument and replace it with an upperclassman’s hat.
The monument is 21 feet tall and is covered with 50 pounds of lard (Crisco) by midshipmen of the 1st Company. The first recorded time was the Class of 1965 with a time of 3 minutes. The fastest time was accomplished by the Class of 1972 in 1 minute, 30 seconds (no grease). The longest time goes to the Class of 1998 which took more than 4 hours to climb.
We made several valiant attempts at producing a streaming video of the climb; but Periscope, we learned, does not fare well when there are a lot of people using cellular data in a small area. Below are some snapshots of the climb!
We were able to capture the capping and the celebration in two short videos as well.
Javarri Beachum reaches the top!
The celebration ensues and the singing of the Blue & Gold.