September 26, 2023
Annapolis, US 61 F

Herndon 2019; Christian Schwien from Fairfax VA. 1:05.05

Christian Schwien, a 4th Class Midshipman from the 27th company, ended his afternoon on a high note.  Schwien was the 4th Class Midshipman who capped the Herndon Monument in 1:05.05. While not a record, it is one of the fastest time since 1988. 2010 does not count (0:02.02) because the monument was not greased

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 cover.

The Class of 2022’s victory was sealed with a fire of a cannon on the Yard at 2:32pm.

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 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.

Legend 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 has never happened.

But for tonight, the class of 2022 will be celebrating the final task of their plebe year. Congratulations! Plebes No More!

Here are some cell phone snaps captures. Be sure to check back tonight for additional images from Glenn A. Miller which will be posted later!

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