Michael Landry a Fourth Class Midshipman from Mississippi placed a midshipman’s cover atop a greased Herndon Monument this afternoon in 2 hours, 19 minutes, 39 seconds. Last year’s climb was completed in 1 hour, 32 minutes and 43 seconds. The victory was sealed with a fire of a cannon on the Yard.
The hat, or cover, held special meaning to the Class of 2017. The cover belonged to fellow classmate Will McKamey who collapsed during a football practice earlier this year and passed away.
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.