Herndon Monument

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Herndon Monument
United States Naval Academy
Herndon Monument.jpg
Campus of the US Naval Academy
For the loss of William Lewis Herndon
Unveiled 1860
Location Annapolis, MD
near the Naval Academy Chapel
Designed by unknown
Forgetful of self, in his death he added a new glory to the annals of the sea

The Herndon Monument on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Academy is a 21-foot tall grey granite obelisk. It was erected in memory of Captain William Lewis Herndon, who courageously decided to go down with his ship, SS Central America, and the men left aboard rather than save himself on September 12, 1857. All women and children and many of the men aboard were saved by a nearby ship during the storm.

Description[edit]

The monument is a 400 in × 71 in × 71 in (10 m × 1.8 m × 1.8 m) granite obelisk presented to the Academy by the class of 1860. It was designed by an unknown sculptor, and has the alternative long name of "Commander William L. Herndon, USN 1813-1857".[1]

Inscriptions[edit]

The Herndon Monument in 1868.

On the monument's base, facing the Naval Academy Chapel, is a plaque:[2]

Commander William Lewis Herndon
1818-1857
Naval Officer - Explorer - Merchant Captain
In command of the Central America, home-bound with California gold
seekers, Captain Herndon lost his life in a gallant effort to save
ship and lives during a cyclone off Hatteras, September 12, 1857.

"Forgetful of self, in his death he added a new glory to the annals of the sea" - Maury

Maury is Matthew Fontaine Maury, Herndon's co-worker (from 1842 to 1846), brother-in-law, and cousin.[3]

To the right on the obelisk from the plaque, in raised block letters, is "HERNDON.". On the opposite side of the obelisk, also in raised letters, is "September 12, 1857.".[2]

Ceremony[edit]

Class of 2014
The climbing of the monument by Fourth Class Midshipmen.

It is the site of the famous "plebes-no-more" ceremony, where the plebes (first year students at the academy) all work together to climb the greased monument and replace a plebe "dixie-cup hat" on top with a combination cover. This is the official end of the plebe year.

It is a Naval Academy tradition that the midshipman who replaces the dixie cup hat will be given a pair of admiral's shoulder boards. Legend says that he or she will be the first of his or her class to make Flag Rank, although in reality this has not yet occurred.

The academy began recording times in 1959. In 1962 Midshipman 4th Class Ed Linz scaled the monument with the aid of a cargo net. Using such devices is now banned.

The record was set in 1969, when Midshipman Larry Fanning made the climb in 1 minute and 30 seconds. However the monument was not greased.

Midshipman 4th Class Michael J Maynard of the Class of 1975 scaled the monument in 20 minutes in 1972, believed to be the fastest time since the tradition of greasing the monument began.

The 2010 Herndon Monument climb for the Class of 2013 took place on Monday, May 24, 2010 at 1:30pm. Superintendent Vice Admiral Jeffrey Fowler indicated dissatisfaction that year with the risk of injury associated with the climbing tradition and a desire to discontinue it.[4] Vice Adm. Fowler ordered the Brigade of Midshipmen not to slather the monument with lard “to improve the safety of the event.”[5] However, his successor, Vice Admiral Michael Miller, reinstated the tradition in 2011, citing that "[c]onducting the ceremonial climb in the same manner as so many previous classes helps to instill spirit and camaraderie among plebes and better links them to the many classes that have gone before them. The Herndon Monument climb serves as a useful event in reinforcing teamwork, organization and leadership."[6]

Table of recorded times[edit]

Scaling times of the Herndon Monument
Year Climbed Class Year Time (H:MM:SS) Scaler
1959 1962 0:12:00[7]
1960 1963 John M. Truesdell
1962 1965 0:03:00[8] Ed Linz
1968 1971 Steve DiAntonio
1969 1972 0:01:30[9] Larry Fanning
1971 1974 0:35:00 William Jackson
1972 1975 0:20:00 [10] Michael Maynard
1974 1977 0:46:00 Alexander Acera
1976 1979 0:58:00 Dwight Crevelt
1978 1981 1:21:00 Doug Heimbach
1979 1982 2:09:00[11] Jay Gallo
1980 1983 2:43:00 Bill Freitag
1981 1984 1:24:00[12] Andreas Bierbraver (Pete Nardi took dixie-cup off at 0:57:00)
1982 1985 1:44:00 Sonny Dean
1983 1986 1:43:55 Kevin Delamer
1984 1987 2:22:00 Bob Kay
1985 1988 3:12:23 Chad Watson
1986 1989 1:23:07 Kenneth Grimes
1987 1990 1:51:20 Byron Hopkins
1988 1991 0:43:44 Melvyn Davis
1989 1992 1:51:30 Sam Cook
1990 1993 1:34:50 Larry Parker
1992 1995 2:21:37 James Golladay
1993 1996 1:38:20 Shaun Stephenson
1994 1997 1:44:20
1995 1998 4:05:17[13] Steve Fortmann
1996 1999 2:08:46
1997 2000 2:55:17
1998 2001 2:22:55 Josh Stewart
1999 2002 2:07:41
2000 2003 1:19:44 Nathaniel Jennings
2001 2004 2:15:52 Alexander Lim
2002 2005 2:07:41 Daniel Knott
2003 2006 1:19:00 Daniel Shea
2004 2007 2:19:24 Philip Johnson
2005 2008 1:16:13 Dave Olson
2006 2009 1:14:15[14] Brian Richards
2007 2010 1:32:43 Jamie Shrock
2008 2011 2:35:59 Greg Reichel
2009 2012 1:14:38[15] Schyler Widman
2010 2013 0:02:05[16] Keegan Albi
2011 2014 2:41:32 Matthew Dalton
2012 2015 2:10:13 Andrew Craig
2013 2016 1:32:43 Patrick Lien
2014 2017 2:19:35 Mike Landry

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Smithsonian American Art Museum. "Herndon Monument, (sculpture)". Smithsonian American Art Museum. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "HERNDON Monument at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland". dcMemorials.com. Retrieved 29 June 2014. 
  3. ^ This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entry can be found here.
  4. ^ Ewing, Philip (May 12, 2010). "Academy supe wants to end Herndon Climb". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  5. ^ Ewing, Philip (May 26, 2010). "No lard on Herndon Monument for climb". Navy Times. 
  6. ^ Fellman, Sam (March 23, 2011). "Grease returns to plebes’ Herndon climb". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved 23 March 2011. 
  7. ^ First recorded time
  8. ^ Used a cargo net - "Herndon Monument Climb time: 1:14:38". Capital Gazette Communications, Inc. 2009-05-19. Retrieved 2009-05-20. 
  9. ^ Fastest time officially recorded, although the monument was not greased
  10. ^ Fastest time greased Capital Gazette 5-5-2008
  11. ^ Bisbee, Gene. "Monumental madness." Annapolis Evening Capital, May 25, 1979.
  12. ^ The Washington Star, May 23, 1981.
  13. ^ Longest time
  14. ^ Fastest time since 1988
  15. ^ Official time per press release - "Herndon Monument Climb time: 1:14:38". Capital Gazette Communications, Inc. 2009-05-18. Retrieved 2009-05-20. 
  16. ^ Ungreased following an order by VADM Fowler, Superintendent of the Naval Academy

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 38°58′56″N 76°29′09″W / 38.9823°N 76.4859°W / 38.9823; -76.4859