Plebe Pillow Pugilists

Discussion in 'Academy/Military News' started by GoSox, Sep 4, 2015.

  1. GoSox

    GoSox Member

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    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/05/u...column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

    Uh, oh. The New York Times got hold of the story that 30 plebes were injured in the annual plebe pillow fight. Batten down the hatches for the inevitable screams of outrage about "our tax dollars" blah blah. A little irony – – apparently they were told to wear helmets to protect themselves but some took off the helmets and put them in the pillows.

    One piece of advice: if you want to maintain some of the "livelier" traditions, don't post pictures of bloody participants on publicly accessible social media.
     
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  2. Freda'sMom

    Freda'sMom Parent

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    Pillow fights? :scratch:
     
  3. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I saw this article on the daily mail today. I am betting that tradition will now be over. They will become the legendary class of the last pillow fight! In years to come it will be ...we were the class of 19, you know the one that made the NYT for all the broken bones.
     
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  4. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    “If you don’t come back with a bloody nose,” a male first-year cadet said his upperclassman commander told him, “you didn’t try hard enough.”

    Got to love that quote. I think I would have enjoyed this type of activity back in the day.
     
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  5. GoSox

    GoSox Member

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    I normally avoid reading comments on online material (YouTube or articles or blogs) because I just shake my head the whole time and it's mostly a waste of time. But if you want to get a sense of how little people understand the culture of the military it is worth reading the comments on the New York Times article. This is the sort of weird thing that can hit a nerve for the public.

    Concussions can easily come from a whiplashing motion, so you can certainly get concussions with pillows even without hard objects inside. My guess is that in an attempt to do away with a few concussions in prior years, the powers that be mandated the wearing of helmets, and in the law of unintended consequences a few young knuckleheads put their helmets in their pillows.

    But the hand-wringing, cries that heads must roll, calls to close down all the academies . . . In the words of that immortal U.S. Army leader Sgt. Hulka: "Lighten up, Francis." Hopefully coolers heads prevail at higher levels.
     
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  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I am just curious where did they get the smoke grenades/bombs?

    I agree there will be a lot of hand wringing. I am not making light of this at all, because 30 injured if you are 1 of those 30 matters, but that is less than 3% of the class.
     
  7. GoSox

    GoSox Member

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    I did not see any evidence of smoke grenades from the YouTube video (which, admittedly, only covered a few minutes), and some of the cadets who posted comments on the New York Times article said that there were no smoke grenades. So I am a little skeptical of that element of the story.
     
  8. ca2midwestmom

    ca2midwestmom Member

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    The class of 2016 had a few cadets put locks or lockboxes in their pillowcases which resulted in injuries, and the following class (2017) was not allowed to have the pillow fight. The class of 2018 did -- still with some injuries, mostly bloody noses, maybe a few concussions. It will likely not be allowed for the class of 2020 but who knows about future classes. It is supposed to be a release for Plebes after 7 weeks of CBT. Obviously some Plebes weren't thinking about the consequences of hard objects hitting their fellow classmates heads. (I know my 2018 was hit in the face & back of head with a pillow. A lot of force still hurts, even without the foreign objects inside.) I don't believe 2019 cadets were required/told to wear helmets because when hit, the helmets tend to shift down which causes even more broken noses. Some upperclass cadets told them not to wear the helmets for this reason. They wear the body armor (or whatever it's called) because of the way it looks, not for protection. There were no smoke grenades/bombs. The NYT took most (all?) of their info off of Yik Yak and Twitter -- and if you've ever read either of those you know that it's not just the cadets who post -- lots of trolls, parents, disgruntled people/former cadets. In fact the majority of cadets are outraged that there were some Plebes that hurt their classmates in such a manner, although I don't think it was intentional -- I think it was 17-21 yr old Plebes who didn't think about the consequences. Unfortunately many more cadets were hurt this year than last year or in the past. I have a seen a picture of a bloody pillowcase and some videos. Parents are not happy about the injuries either and it's possible a parent leaked the info to the NYT. As parents we have to believe the chain of command is handling this.
     
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  9. ca2midwestmom

    ca2midwestmom Member

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    If you watch the videos (especially one from 2018) it looks like a prison riot -- funny and appalling all at once.
     
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  10. Sledge

    Sledge Member

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    I like how the NYT quoted Yik Yak. That's some fine journalism.
     
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  11. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

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    Not the kind of attention you want to attract, Class of 2019. :thumbdown:
     
  12. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    I disagree. It was from the movie "untouchable," something like don't bring a knife to a gun fight. This is a reverse, where only pillows are allowed. I can't believe a cadet did not realize that if you hit someone with a pillow/heavy object combination that there will be no serious injury. Take it one step further, when your opponent has a pillow but you have a pillow plus heavy object, this is a unfair contest. This was supposed to be a spirit/team building event, not an event to see how many others you can beat up. Or if a cadet had an intention to hurt other cadets, he or she should not be a cadet.

    Cadets should be held to a higher standard - there is no magic pill given to you when you graduate that you suddenly become a mature, responsible 2LTs. Maturity and responsibility starts now. Some of my classmates were 21 when they graduated.
     
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  13. cga82

    cga82 Banned

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    This is so spot on! Would you treat your brothers and sisters in this manner?
     
  14. NavyHoops

    NavyHoops Moderator

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    Agree LG. If this was at Navy when I was there and I saw a Mid put a heavy object in there I would of ensured and pressed that the kid had the book thrown at them. Blowing off steam is great, but if you haven't learned to not blue falcon a classmate after 7 weeks of CBT, not sure they will ever get the concept. Cadets and Mids are strong physical folks who tend to blow off steam in sometimes strange ways. Actually I think huge pillow fights happen on many campuses across the country though. Let them do it and for those who can't learn boundaries, hammer them. Upper class do you job to supervise and monitor.
     
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  15. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

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    I think this is more of a "Culture of West Point" then of the military.

    Put this same incident at a public university and all those that caused injury would be expelled, the organization that sponsored it would be closed down, and yes it would have made the national news.

    Watching 2 sons go through ROTC over the last 7 years, I don't ever remember hearing of a pillow fight with injuries. I guess they just won't have that Warrior ethos.
     
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  16. ca2midwestmom

    ca2midwestmom Member

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    I'm not condoning the behavior of a small group of Plebes. My understanding is the team leaders (Yearlings) were supposed to check their Plebes' pillow cases before releasing them. Obviously some did not get checked or some Plebes waited until out in the yard to add items. But I do think that young adults do stupid things without thinking of the consequences, and unfortunately there are always bad apples in the lot -- even in a place like West Point.
     
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  17. USMCGrunt

    USMCGrunt Member

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    There are plenty of leadership lessons to be learned across the entire chain of command.
     
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  18. tug_boat

    tug_boat Member

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    Oh please......
    How come nobody cries foul during Plebe boxing over a bloody nose?! How come everyones cheers at the football games when a player goes head first for a tackle. I do feel the upperclassmen should pay a little more attention to whats inside the pillow cases. But this is hardly a major incident to warrant stopping the "tradition". The media is only using this to sell more papers or get more hits on their news pipe. I understand this is a top rated public school funded by the American tax payer. But I want hard leaders to make tough battle, budget go forward decision makers who had a bloody nose or two. It will teach you to duck when something flies toward your head.

    Push Hard, Press Forward
     
  19. MomWPgirl

    MomWPgirl Member

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    I thought the same thing until I heard the extent and severity of some of the injuries from some of the parents of the injured. Some of these kids are still struggling with their injuries. This could have been much worse...these weren't minor concussions.
     
  20. Day-Tripper

    Day-Tripper Member

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    I think because in boxing you're supposed to hit your opponent, and he is expecting it. And in football if you're running downfield you expect to get tackled.

    But in a "pillow fight" you shouldn't whacked in the head with a helmet concealed inside of a pillow case, to the point of suffering broken bones or concussions. Hardly a "bloody nose or two".

    I used to be one of those guys who lamented the prohibition of drill instructors from occasionally smacking a recruit. Not any longer. The wars in Iraq & Afghanistan were fought with professionalism and competence by a generation of military personnel, both enlisted and officers, who didn't get beaten in basic training the way their grandfather's Vietnam forefathers did.

    I want leaders who train hard, too, and if injuries occur during the course of that training, well, it goes with the territory. An acceptable price. This was hardly "training" and it doesn't add to any cadets future ability to lead men. It was irresponsible foolishness which the powers that be should immediately clamp down on.

    The Russian army is notorious for their brutal hazing of recruits, including deaths and suicides, but their army isn't any tougher for it. In fact, it sucks.

    I expect 18 year old plebes to make stupid decisions. I don't expect their superiors to accept it.
     
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