Herndon

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by DMK from PA, May 24, 2010.

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  1. DMK from PA

    DMK from PA Member

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    My son just texted me from the Yard; the Herndon climb took 3 minutes. It was not greased this year :thumbdown: He said the upperclassmen did not even cheer them on!
     
  2. Meg0427

    Meg0427 New Member

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    The upperclass didn't have time to cheer them on. We went out there at 1:29 and the climb was already over.
     
  3. NewNavyMom

    NewNavyMom Member

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    I heard last night from a USNA graduate that this year was the last for the Herndon. Anyone know if there is truth to that statement?
     
  4. themutis

    themutis Member

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  5. Maui1

    Maui1 Member

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    Herndon climb....

    Thank you soooo much for posting the pictures!
     
  6. themutis

    themutis Member

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  7. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Herndon w/o grease isn't Herndon. Sorry, Class of 2013, we know it's not your doing but it still doesn't count.:thumbdown:

    The current Supe wanted to end Herndon on account of injuries and the fact that Sea Trials is more of a test of mettle than climbing what some have described as a greased phallic monument and achieving success by climbing over the backs of your peers. However, he deferred the decision to his successor. I guess this was the "compromise" for this year. :rolleyes:
     
  8. 2012mom?

    2012mom? Member

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    It may finally be true that 2012 had the last real Plebe year....
     
  9. USNA'02

    USNA'02 Member

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    I have to agree...sorry the class of 2013 got robbed of a great tradition...I'm sure there are many Alumni out there that can say they walked away w/ a few bumps and bruises, maybe a nasty sunburn...if it took you like 4hrs to complete but a great memory non the less
     
  10. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    Notice the "old" camo for upperclass. Detailers for this summer had to buy the "New BDU" at about $300 a pop.:eek:
     
  11. mammothchick67

    mammothchick67 Member

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    Is Herndon gone for good? :eek: I've heard that the Supe was debating it, but is this a permanent change? I hope not :frown:
     
  12. GoNavyMom

    GoNavyMom Member

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    Hi,

    I attended Herndon yesterday to cheer on my Plebe No More and it was unfortunately, a little anti-climatic.

    The Midshipmen blasted the song Grease from a Bancroft window early in the day. The Plebes No More were ready for a full on Herndon and were only told yesterday a.m. that it wasn't going happen. Many blue collar shirts with "Where's the grease?"

    There were still smiles all around because Plebe year is finally over.

    Another Herndon tradition that doesn't get as much public discussion - all of the Plebes No More removed their sneakers before heading to the monument. The sneakers are left along Stribling Walk. If the Plebe No More doesn't retrieve his or her sneakers, then they are collected and donated. There were hundreds of like new New Balance white sneakers along the path.

    Let's hope the new Superintendent sees the value of tradition.

    GoNavyMom
     
  13. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    I have the feeling a few thousand alums will be more than happy to remind him of it. :biggrin: Repeatedly.:shake:
     
  14. 2013MidDad

    2013MidDad Member

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    Returned home last nite from visit to USNA for Herndon. Seeing our Plebe "no more" for the first time since January makes anything else that happened during the visit pale in comparison, but it is a shame what they are doing to Herndon. But one has to say that the Supe's decision for this year was an act of genius. In our current era of our leaders often trying to accomplish unpopular goals by "nudging" people toward the end result that they want, the best first step toward eliminating a beloved tradition is to take the fun out of it. Once you can come up with a straight-faced argument that supports taking the fun out of something, you can totally eliminate it a couple of years later because nobody will remember why they loved it or cared about it in the first place.

    However, as usual, the Plebes accomplished the task presented before them, whether made by others to be hard or easy (bragging about the lowest attrition rate ever), in fine form, and that's what matters at the end of the day.
     
  15. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    I agree. It's not the Class of 2013's fault. But the ceremony was a travesty of a grand Naval Academy tradition.

    I was there - the disappointment and surprise was palpable.

    Officially, it took them 2 minutes and 5 seconds. The kid that got to the top scaled the last half of the monument without any assistance whatsoever from his classmates. He looked like Spiderman - using the natural friction afforded by the dry monument. Judging by his adeptness, I'm convinced he could have climbed it all by himself.

    It was actually a rather sad spectacle. People walked away in stunned disbelief, many shaking their head in disgust.

    It was even somewhat anti-climactic for the Plebes since they had been awarded "carry on" privileges several days prior to Herndon; a privilege customarily withheld until after successfully climbing the monument. They were officially declared "No More Plebes" well prior. They were just going through the motions - and they knew it.

    They had the area roped off ... there was a special viewing section for VIP's ... there was security in place ... the ambulance was standing by in the event of any injuries ... a band was on the nearby gazebo to further entertain the crowd since, on average, it takes a little over 90 minutes to climb ... a tent was erected to provide concessions to the throngs of onlookers who have gathered ... crates of bottled water were near the monument to provide hydration to the beleaguered Plebes in anticipation of a protracted battle with the obelisk ... the anxious plebes were held at bay for almost 15 impatient minutes ... family, friends, tourists, upperclassmen, faculty, and media were standing-by to observe what usually is the most entertaining event during Commissioning Week ... the cannon sounded, the plebes charged the monument and, before the last plebe could even get within 50-ft of the monument - it was over.

    Snide remarks rippled through the crowd.

    "What the hell was that?"

    "That's it? It's over?"

    "You've got to be kidding me."

    "What a waste of time."

    "That ain't right, man."

    "What a joke!"

    * * * * *

    If the Academy wanted to phase out the Herndon Climb by making this the last one, there was a much better way of doing it instead of embarrassing the Class of 2013.

    Without announcing it in advance - they should have made this the last Herndon. They should have greased it down and gone out with a bang. End the tradition in the traditional manner. And then, after Commissioning Week has concluded, they should have announced that the Class of 2013 was the last class to climb Herndon (a distinction, of sorts!) and that, beginning with the Class of 2014, there will be a NEW tradition that will replace Herndon yet have all the traditional elements of teamwork, challenge, and cooperation that have characterized Herndon.

    That way both the Class of 2013 and the Class of 2014 would be special in their own right.

    Win - win!

    The media always covers Herndon. The lack of grease on the monument hijacked the conversation away from the Plebes' achievement of conquering Plebe Year and, instead, focused on how easy it was to climb.

    The Class of 2013 deserved better. Many of them were wearing T-shirts that said, "Where's the grease?"

    If they had their way, the monument would have been layered in 3-inches of lard, a surrounding mudpit with a barbed wired fence, and armed guards.

    Ostensibly, the Superintendent didn't want anybody to get hurt.

    He just now came to this realization?

    Hey - I got an idea!

    For safety reasons, I think the Class of 2010 should be the first class to be prohibited from tossing their covers into the air at the completion of the commissioning ceremony. Young children stampede onto the field in the hopes of grabbing a hat (usually with a dollar inside) as a souvenir. Somebody is going to get hurt. Therefore - tossing of covers is hereby prohibited.

    Now, if the Superintendent could only convince the Taliban to start using rubber bullets in the interest of safety - that would be great! After all, real bullets can hurt somebody.

    Pfft!

    [getting off my soapbox]
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2010
  16. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    Take the fun out of it at the expense of the Class of 2013 and their families? I do not consider that a stroke of genius in the least.

    VADM Fowler won't be here next year and will not have the authority to determine the fate of the Herndon tradition.

    That will be up to the next Superintendent. What if the next superintendent decides to continue the Herndon ceremony in the traditional format? In that case, the Class of 2013 will go down in history as the No-Grease-On-Herndon class.

    If VADM Fowler wanted to get rid of the tradition he should have done it during his tenure as Superintendent instead of taking some middle ground, non-committal course that had the net effect of casting a little embarrassment on the Class of 2013.

    I don't blame the Class of 2013. But they didn't deserve this cloud hung over their achievement of conquering Plebe Year.
     
  17. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    According to the Navy Times:
    So, the class of 2013 was not a record.
    Anyone know:
    Was lard used prior to 1969? If so why not in 1969?
    Were there any other years that Herndon was not greased?

    IIRC - a year or two ago the Supe wanted only certain members of the plebe class to participate in Herndon - did that hold?
     
  18. pjnavy82

    pjnavy82 Member

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    Found this:

    "The first evidence that the shaft of the gray, granite, obelisk-shaped monument was greased to make the climb more difficult appears in the Lucky Bag yearbook of the class of 1952. Their climb took place following the graduation ceremony held on June 3, 1949. Grease was not used again until 1953, when a fairly heavy coat was applied."

    http://www.usna63.org/tradition/Herndon/
     
  19. 2013MidDad

    2013MidDad Member

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    Memphis: The tongue was intended to be firmly planted in cheek.
     
  20. DeskJockey

    DeskJockey Member

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    I am going to add something of a dissenting opinion here. I don't know whether or not it is a good idea to eliminate the Herndon Climb, but I think it is very unlikely that the Superintendent is going out of his way to propose the elimination of a venerable tradition like this just for the hell of it. Unless we want to question the Supe's honor, we have to accept that he is genuinely concerned about the potential for serious injury. Obviously Herndon does not pose the same risk as the old Texas A&M bonfire, but can anyone rule out the possiblity that a plebe might suffer an injury severe enough to end his navy career before it has even started? Reasonable minds can differ on this point, but I can see how the Supe would consider that too high of a price to pay even for a sacred rite of passage.

    I am also very willing to believe that there is a legitimate debate to be had about the best way to wrap up plebe year. Sea Trials may not be the answer, but I would not lightly dismiss the idea that the capstone of plebe year can and should be something more profound than climbing up a greased obelisk.
     
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