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“Nationals October 2019

Herndon 2018; Peter Rossi from Phoenix , AZ. 2:09.35

| May 21, 2018, 08:28 PM

MIDN Peter Rossi, 30th Company | Phoenix, AZ. Topped the Herndon monument on May 21, 2018 in 2:09.35.

Peter Rossi, a 4th Class Midshipman ended his afternoon on a high note.  Rossi was the 4th Class Midshipman who capped the Herndon Monument in 2:09.35, just beating out the 2:21 time from last year’s class.

Rossi is a member of the 30th Company. He was boosted by his roommate who also had some experience in placing caps on top of things. His roommate was responsible for placing the Midshipman’s cover (hat) on top of the Naval Academy Chapel dome last December.

Each year, the roughly 1,000 members of the academy’s plebe (freshman) class form a human pyramid around the 21-foot tall Herndon Monument to remove a plebe hat, or “dixie cup,” that upperclassmen have placed on the top of the obelisk monument which is covered in vegetable shortening. The midshipman who makes it to the top then replaces the “dixie cup” with a midshipman’s hat.

The climb this year had a glitch. Apparently they shorted the shortening. The Midshipmen responsible for greasing the obelisk resorted to butter, which proceeded to melt. Shortly before the climb, vegetable shortening (think Crisco) was brought in from Graul’s Market along with liquid vegetable oil and the combination of the Academy’s shortening, Graul’s shortening, the Academy’s butter and some vegetable oil was what greeted the former plebes as they rushed the monument.

There were many close calls and at one point the class erupted in cheers after tossing a cover to the top only to be told that it must be “placed” on the top. A Midshipman can slide it up and “boost” it (which is typically how it happens) but tossing it up like a ring-toss game is a no-no.

Peter took none of the glory for the capping of the monument, he kept saying it was a group effort and was quick to bring in his classmates, specifically his roommate who helped push him to the top.  Tradition has it that the plebe who caps the monument will be the first to reach the rank of Admiral; however, as Superintendent VADM Ted Carter pointed out..it has never happened.

But for tonight, the class of 2021 will be celebrating the final task of their plebe year. Congratulations! Plebes No More!

Here are some sounds we captured this afternoon. The greasers, a  few words with a female mid who almost made it, the capping, and a brief interview with Peter Rossi.



Severn Bank





Category: Events, LIFE IN THE AREA, Local News, NEWS, Post To FB

About the Author - John Frenaye

John is the publisher and editor of Eye On Annapolis. As a resident and business owner in Anne Arundel County for nearly 25 years, he realized that there was something missing in terms of community news–and Eye On Annapolis was born in late spring 2009.

John’s background is in the travel industry as a business owner, industry speaker, and travel writer. In terms of blogging and social media, he cut his teeth with MSNBC.com.

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