Naval Plebes Scale Herndon Monument

The U.S. Naval Academy's plebe class completed the annual tradition of climbing the Herndon Monument.

About 1,000 first-year students took part Monday afternoon, scaling the 21-foot obelisk slathered with vegetable shortening.

Students formed a human pyramid to help classmates climb the slippery monument. The task was to remove the hat known as the "dixie cup" from the top of the monument and replace it with a midshipmen's hat, marking the end of the plebe year.

Legend has it that the freshman who tops Herndon will be the first of the class to make admiral.

Plebes began climbing the monument in 1940 and the placement of the cap started seven years later. In 1949, upperclassmen began smearing lard on the monument to make the climb more challenging.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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