Another Naval Tradition Bites the Dust – No More Obelisk Climbing

What make this story interesting are not the facts but the reaction to them.   A sixty year tradition of Naval Academy plebes climbing a greased obelisk at the end of their first year is coming to an end.   So far of the emails received by the Navy times on the story,  over thirty oppose the ending the obelisk climb while one supports the ban.

End of Line for Academy Tradition?  Annual obelisk climb may end

For 60 years U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen have been climbing a 21-foot greased obelisk to celebrate the end of their first year.   But that tradition may be nearing an end.  Each year a small group of students piles on each other to climb the lard-greased Academy monument. The mission is to replace a plebe’s hat on the top of the Herndon Monument with an officer’s hat.

But the climbing part of the tradition may be on its way out, said Vice Admiral Jeffrey Fowler, the superintendent at the Naval Academy.  Officials are concerned that some students have been injured over the years.  Plus, first-year students now have a different exercise considered to be a greater gauge of teamwork for the entire class rather than just the small number that climbs the monument.

But those who don’t want the tradition to end have been voicing their opinion to Navy Times in e-mails….  In total, Navy Times said it received more than 30 e-mails in support of the climb and just one against it.

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