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US Naval Academy male plebes – shirtless and slippery – conquer Herndon Monument Climb

It’s the final challenge of their freshman year and the plebes of the US Naval Academy Class of 2019 formed a human pyramid to meet it.

As has been tradition since 1959, a group of 1,000 plebes took on the challenge of conquering the 21-foot-tall Herndon Monument at the military academy at Annapolis, Maryland.

It’s not made easy as the granite obelisk monument is greased before the plebes (the males are shirtless while the females stay more covered up) attempt the climb with the goal replacing the plebe cover at the top with a midshipman cover.

The monument was ultimately capped by Midshipman 4th Class Chris Bianchi in 1:12:34.

Bianchi (pictured above with his mother post-climb) told Navy News Service: ‘People just kept pushing me back up; it’s good to be a little guy. It felt amazing to be the one who actually capped it, but it’s really the people at the base that I owe it all to.’

Bianchi comes from a proud family legacy of naval service.

But it’s also a tragic one.

His father, Cmdr. Kevin Bianchi, graduated from the academy in 1985 and served as a helicopter pilot. He was killed in 2003 in an MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter crash near Naval Air Station Sigonella.

His uncle, also a helicopter pilot and 1983 academy graduate, was killed in an HH-46 helicopter crash in the Philippines in 1987, before Bianchi was born.

Said his mother Rita Bianchi: ‘I was praying to his dad up in heaven to just help him get to the top.’

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2 Remarks

  1. Shirtless plebes!


  2. Would love to witness that in person!

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