It's that time of year again. Freshmen at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, are wrapping up their first year. To celebrate their new institutional status, "plebes-no-more", students climb to the top of the Herndon monument, a 21 foot obelisk covered with 50 pounds of lard. The monument honors the memory of Captain William Lewis Herndon who, on September 12, 1857, decided to go down with his ship during a brutal storm.
Naval cadets have climbed the monument every year since 1940. The first man (or woman) to the top crown Herndon with a dixie cup "hat". According to Wikipedia, "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."