Obelisk Mayhem: Naval Academy Plebes Take 2 Hours to Claim Victory and Swap Caps – Who Will Be the Next Admiral?

Annapolis, Maryland – Midshipmen at the Naval Academy in Annapolis achieved a time-honored tradition on Wednesday by completing the challenging task of climbing the greased Herndon Monument. The monumental feat took the Class of 2027 two hours, 19 minutes, and 11 seconds to succeed, with 20-year-old Ben Leisegang emerging as the victor by placing an upperclassman’s hat atop the obelisk.

The annual ritual symbolizes the conclusion of the plebe year, where fourth class midshipmen, formerly known as plebes, come together to conquer the 21-foot tall monument slathered in vegetable shortening. Despite the slippery surface and constant soaking spray from hoses, the plebes worked as a team to build a human pyramid to reach the pinnacle and swap out the traditional Dixie cup hat for the upperclassman’s hat.

In a jubilant moment, Leisegang, hailing from Rancho Santa Margarita, California, received accolades for his leadership and determination while addressing his classmates and academy officials. Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Yvette M. Davids commended the Class of 2027 for their teamwork and resolve during the challenging climb, emphasizing the importance of unity and cooperation in naval tradition.

Reflecting on the significance of the event, Davids shared messages from alumni encouraging the plebes to remember their roots and support future generations of midshipmen. The climb, which began in 1940 and evolved over the years to include greased obstacles, highlights the endurance and camaraderie instilled in Navy tradition.

As the midshipmen celebrated their accomplishment, it became clear that the lessons learned during the climb go beyond the physical challenge; they symbolize the values of dedication, perseverance, and unity essential for success in the Naval Academy and beyond. Through the historic event of scaling the Herndon Monument, the Class of 2027 solidified their bonds and honored the legacy of those who came before them.