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  • Back to 2002-2003 Picture Page

    Herndon 2003
    Stories by Candi McElheny, Linda Mallory and Gary Kuiper
    Photos by Patricia Gray

    Pre-Herndon Breakfast by Barbara Craig
    Herndon Photos by Barbara Craig
    Herndon Photos by Patricia Gray
    Alumni Association Herndon Pictures
    Herndon Photos by Mid John Phalen
    Herndon Photos by Sylvia Turner-Yanofsky
    Hendon Photos by Paul Schenk
    Herndon Photos by Angel Womack

    It was a beautiful sunny day at the yard following previous days of rain. Just prior to the charge to Herndon the energy level in T-court was at a high pitch! The sounds of the 06 chants and noise makers rippled throughout the yard. Anticipation was definitely in the air.

    The plebes broke through the line of 04's holding them back about 15 minutes prior to the scheduled 2:00 p.m. start. Seeing 1000+ plebes charge to the Herndon monument was as much fun as watching them try to climb the greased granite! A few plebes fell during the stampede but other members of the 06 class quickly pulled them up and they were again in a mad dash.As they ran white works were torn off their bodies in preparation of using them as rags to remove layer upon layer of lard on Herndon.

    The initial climbs up Herndon were riddled with collapses due to the thick message laden lard covering it. Messages like "Still No Civies" and "05 is King" and yes, even "Hi Mom" covered all four sides Herndon. Time after time it would look like they were surely going to capture the dixie cup in record time . . . the crowd would start to clap and cheer only fora huge collective sigh to be released as the pyramid of plebes collapsed upon each other.

    06 was a minute on one side or the other of that timeframe. The final triumph came when an 06 pulled himself up and into a sitting position on the top of Herndon! Quite the sight and comments all around were that "I don't think anyone has ever done that before!" It definitely was a day of glory for our now 4th Class USNA mids! Realizing they have been 4th class all y
    ear but the title of plebe well out weighed the 4/C title!

    To say that the air in the yard this whole weekend has been jovial would be an understatement.


    Story by Linda Mallory

    The plebes came running out of Bancroft to a thunderous roar from the crowd. As they are running, white works are getting peeled off. The first to make it to the monument form a ring at the bottom and the rest of the plebes start the pile on. Within about ten minutes, a few mids are two, then three layers high. The crowd goes wild. Then they fall off.

    They climb up. They fall down. They climb up again. They fall down. The cannon sounds (every 15 minutes and it just went off again). They climb up--get tantalizingly close and the crowd goes wild. They fall down to a loud AHHHHHHH. They climb up (with white works flying) to try to scrape off/peel off/clean off the monument. They fall down. They climb up with feet and arms flying. They fall down. They form a tight circle and start hoisting shipmates up. They fall down. They form a pile at the bottom and try pushing from the bottom and pulling from the top to get another layer built. They fall down. All the while the fire department is hosing the midshipmen down with occasional light bursts of water. Before long, the grass is a mucky combination of lard, mud, sweat, body parts, and what used to be "white" works. The bottom tier is having a hard time standing still and the top tiers have feet and toes inserted into ears and mouths below. They climb up and add another tier. The crowd goes wild. They fall down. They climb up in a strange semblance of "organized." They fall down. They try putting fresh bodies on the bottom and jockeying the lighter mids for the top tiers. They fall down. They try building a larger base and gradually make the pyramid smaller at the top tiers. They fall down. And so it goes...

    Continued by Gary Kuiper....

    As Linda said the plebes had gotten to within about three feet of the top several times but fell back. Suddenly there were two plebes on the same side about three feet from the top, both standing on two layers of plebes below. One was able to help boost the other to where he could just reach the top. With an incredible show of strength, he pulled himself up to and onto the top, which was still covered with at least an inch of lard. The crowd and especially the plebes were roaring approval and encouragement.
    Lying on his stomach on the point -- looking like he would slide off any second -- he then slowly pulled himself up to a sitting position on the point with his legs clinging to the side of Herndon.

    Now he is sitting on top of the lard on top of the hat that is duct-taped to
    the point. (Picture sitting on a hat that is duct-taped to a bar stool, and you have to get the hat off while sitting on it. Now raise the bar stool 21 feet, give it a pointed top, and cover the hat and duct tape with lard.)

    He flings off what is left of the lard onto the plebes below, and starts pulling at the duct tape, which is obviously very slippery. Someone produced a plastic knife, which they finally put in a shirt pocket and threw the shirt up to him. With the knife he was able to pull up part of the duct tape, and then slowly spin around to pull the rest of it off. The crowd roared its approval as he held it up and flung it away.

    He then slid back a couple inches back and put the dixie cap on and the crowd erupted. I doubt if the plebes had ever been as excited in their lives.

    Meanwhile, an officer with a chest full of ribbons is telling the operator of a cherry picker truck next to me that has a photographer in the air that the Commandant wants them to get the guy off the top. The operator says they will have to clear the crowd first and move the truck forward.

    Just then the guy on top simply starts sliding down the monument with his arms wrapped around it as long as he could hold on, then tumbles onto the top row which collapses on to the others. Immediately the guy is hoisted up on other plebes' shoulders, and carried aloft, high fiving everyone in sight as the plebes screamed, and the crowd cheered and clapped.