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Herndon Climb Takes Place at Naval Academy

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ANNAPOLIS, MD - MAY 19: Annapolis Naval Academy freshmen make a human wall to climb the lard covered Herndon Monument on May 19, 2014 in Annapolis, Maryland. Each year the freshman class, known as 'Plebes,' climb the monument at the Naval Academy to retrieve the Plebian Sailor's hat and replace it with an officer's hat. The tradition is one step in marking the end of wearing freshman headgear and moving up to headgear more like a U.S. Naval officer. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

ANNAPOLIS, MD – MAY 19: Annapolis Naval Academy freshmen make a human wall to climb the lard covered Herndon Monument on May 19, 2014 in Annapolis, Maryland. Each year the freshman class, known as ‘Plebes,’ climb the monument at the Naval Academy to retrieve the Plebian Sailor’s hat and replace it with an officer’s hat. The tradition is one step in marking the end of wearing freshman headgear and moving up to headgear more like a U.S. Naval officer. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. — A U.S. Naval Academy student from Mississippi has capped the Herndon Monument in a traditional event.

Michael Landry of Southaven, Mississippi, placed a midshipman’s hat on top of the 21-foot obelisk. The academy says it took 2 hours, 19 minutes and 32 seconds to replace the first-year student’s “dixie cup” hat with a midshipman’s cover. Students form a human pyramid to help classmates climb the lard-covered monument.

Students who are in their first year at the academy take part in the climb, which marks an end to their “plebe” year.

The annual event began in 1940. The symbolic placement of the cap on the monument’s tip began seven years later. In 1949, upperclassmen began smearing lard on the monument to make the climb more challenging.

(© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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