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Navy Vice Admiral up for first (and only) less than Courageous Restraint medal

Wussies rule the day at Annapolis:

First-year students at the U.S. Naval Academy clambered to the top of the 21-foot Herndon Monument on Monday in near-record time, a memorable performance in one of the most storied traditions at the Annapolis service academy.

But something was missing.

Two hundred pounds of lard.

The Herndon climb is a rite of passage for Navy freshmen, known as plebes. At the end of their grueling first year, they gather, 1,000 strong, at the foot of the monument and work their way to the top in a greasy human pyramid, fighting gravity and slogging through mud as upper-class midshipmen spray the greasy throng with hoses. This year, the hoses, too, were absent.

A plebe reached the top of the obelisk Monday afternoon in two minutes, five seconds. No one was injured. No one even got particularly dirty. The sense of collective letdown might have been captured best in the words scrawled onto one midshipman's T-shirt: "Where's the grease?"

Vice Adm. Jeffrey Fowler, the departing academy superintendent, instructed the midshipmen not to grease the obelisk this year. It was a gesture of his dissatisfaction with an event that, for all its rich, greasy history, has raised safety concerns with academy leaders. In 2008, four midshipmen sustained injuries in the climb serious enough for ambulance trips to the hospital. All four recovered.

"Admiral Fowler made the decision this year that it would be safer for the midshipmen to climb the monument without grease," said Cmdr. Joe Carpenter, an academy spokesman. He noted that no one was injured in this year's ascent.

The first mid to the top plants a midshipman's cap. According to legend, not yet fulfilled, he or she will be first in the class to attain the rank of admiral. It's a triumph of teamwork and grit and a sight to behold. Spectators have watched plebes struggle for four hours to reach the top. No class has ever given up.

Academy alumni are outspoken in their defense of beloved Annapolis traditions, and some who have scaled Herndon are outraged at the thought that the climb is being cleansed.

Hope and change at one of our prestigious military acadamies.

Sigh.

H/T to Bookworm.

Crossposted at Brutally Honest.


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Comments (14)

Just more Political Correct... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Just more Political Correctness. Can't wait for repeal of DADT and see how they 'accessorize' those drab gray uniforms at West Point.

Maybe this has something to... (Below threshold)
epador:

Maybe this has something to do with the anticipated repeal of don't ask don't tell?

"Maybe this has something t... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"Maybe this has something to do with the anticipated repeal of don't ask don't tell?"

What? That the Naval Academy is no longer ordering large quantities of lard? You'd think it would be just the opposite.

So when are they going to rename it The Navel Academy?

First time it wasn't grease... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

First time it wasn't greased, and it was climbed in NEAR record time???

If a spectator tripped and ... (Below threshold)

If a spectator tripped and scraped his hand while walking to the event they'd probably cancel the event altogether to avoid future potential injuries. Musn't take chances!

"A plebe reached the top... (Below threshold)
Geoffrey Britain:

"A plebe reached the top of the obelisk Monday afternoon in two minutes, five seconds. Spectators have watched plebes struggle for four hours to reach the top. No class has ever given up."

It's now, just a matter of time till a class gives up. They've taken the challenge away and changed the game, such that no future class can now measure up to the previous standard.

The Political Correctness has spread from the top brass down through the ranks into the cadets, we may have just witnessed the death knell for the American military.

Courageous restraint, indeed.

"First time it wasn't greas... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"First time it wasn't greased, and it was climbed in NEAR record time???"

1,000 strong, at the foot of the monument and work their way to the top in a greasy human pyramid, fighting gravity and slogging through mud as upper-class midshipmen spray the greasy throng with hoses. This year, the hoses, too, were absent.

No grease, no mud, no water, no hoses. So how does this set a NEW RECORD? As compared to what SIMILAR set of circumstances?

Oh, and having seen videos ... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Oh, and having seen videos of this event:

Those are not 'garden' variety hoses. Full pressure fire hoses. AIMED AT THE PLEBES in order to knock them down as well as to wet down the ground.

As for "near record time" -... (Below threshold)

As for "near record time" - the best time was a year that they used chicken wire under the lard ... unwittingly giving the plebes an easy climb to the top. I've been to the event, many, many times. The hoses are there to keep the plebes from overheating - they are NOT full-pressure hoses - and are NOT aimed at the plebes to knock them down!! I, like many others, are sorry for this change in tradition.

What definition of 'politic... (Below threshold)

What definition of 'political correctness' does this fall into?

If you're going to criticize, do so properly. This was not motivated by a desire to avoiding hurting someone's feelings (i.e., political correctness) but rather management's desire to avoid the possibility of being blamed for something that happens on their watch.

"management's desire to avo... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"management's desire to avoid the possibility of being blamed for something that happens on their watch"

Says it all.

Let me expound further on w... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Let me expound further on what I see as the connection with 'political correctness'. I do not think anyone would say I'm wrong in stating that 'political correctness' is associated completely with the left. You know, the people who also promote 'identity politics', ie., I'm African-American, I'm Hispanic-American. I have a BLACK caucus. I have a HISPANIC caucus.

Now the military promotes events such as described at the beginning of this thread. They endure and become 'tradition'. WHY? Because they serve a purpose. Several in fact. They provide a physical challenge that builds esprit when it is overcome. Thereby instilling pride. It also requires teamwork. A way for individuals to identify themselves as a group within a group.

Two naval officers may have a heated dispute with diametrically opposed views. BUT they can come together, despite the fact they disagree on a given topic, despite having graduated in different years; hell even if they're in completely different generations. All it takes is "Remember the Herndon climb?" BAM! - a 'shared experience'. Really just one of many.

But liberals don't like that. They promote 'identity politics'. YOU ARE DIFFERENT from THEM. Follow my drift?

Years ago, the 'right of passage' at the PD Academy was "The Tower Run". It was held the Saturday (no classes) before graduation. It was VOLUNTARY. But everyone always showed up for it. It wasn't timed (although staff kept unofficial 'records' just for bragging rights). It was a freaking just-short-of-a-half-marathon. 6 miles up, 6 miles back on a badly maintained dirt road. Kicked my ass, I puked on the way back, and that was downhill! But it was a shared experience. The last person back got just as much applause as the speed freak who came in "1st".

But they don't do the run today. Stopped doing it several years ago. The college, under who's auspices the Academy is run, ordered it stopped. Why? As Stevie points out "management's desire to avoid the possibility of being blamed for something that happens on their watch." Now the 'worst' that ever happened on the run was that someone sprained an ankle. Hell, there were even rattlesnakes up there! There was no reason given. The event was ordered stopped. No mention of anyone dying. No mention of anyone being permanently disabled. Could something like that have happened? Yes.

And you could be hit and killed by a car tomorrow. So let's ban the automobile.

Banning th eautomobile is t... (Below threshold)

Banning th eautomobile is too shortsighted. Instead, let's ban tomorrow.

@Garandfan ... I am both an... (Below threshold)
USNA Ancient:

@Garandfan ... I am both an alum and a liberal and quite proud of both. I would submit that this has absoF******lutely nothing to do with PC ... it has to do with a certain O-9 [or O-8 if you don't include Commodore] continuing his self-serving, continuously mistaken reign for as long as possible. Well, it's finally coming to a close ... don't get me wrong, some of his accomplishments are noteworthy and commendable just far too few coupled with far too many REALLY BAD ONES OF WHICH THIS IS BUT ONE SMALL [and easily corrected one come next year with a new Sup more interested in the Academy and the Brigade than in his own image] ! Oh, yeah, I would remind all those who try to blame this and everything else unfortunate on POTUS ... guess who appointed fouler's sorry ass ! To Adm. Fowler: Fair Winds and Following Seas in your retirement [which comes too late by years] and don't let the door smack in the ass as you depart.




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