Naval Academy Class of 2024 to Have Herndon Climb Livestreamed

Naval Academy freshmen, or plebes, climb the Herndon Monument
Naval Academy freshmen, or plebes, climb the Herndon Monument, a tradition symbolizing the successful completion of the midshipmen freshman year, May 20, 2019. (Josiah D. Pearce/U.S. Navy)

19 Apr 2021The Capital, Annapolis, Md. | By Heather Mongilio

The day before Commissioning Week starts, midshipmen will rush an obelisk, hoping to capture the cover on top of it.

The Herndon Climb is back.

The Class of 2024 will have its Herndon Climb on Saturday, May 22, the weekend before graduation, Superintendent Vice Adm. Sean Buck said in a letter to parents of midshipmen.

The Herndon Climb, which was postponed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will be closed to families and guests, although the event will be live-streamed, Buck said in his letter.

It is unclear if the class of 2023 will get to do a climb. Buck and Commandant of the Brigade of Midshipmen Capt. Thomas R. Buchanan scaled Herndon in May 2020, using ladders, in order to complete the climb for the then-plebes. The class of 2023 officially finished its first year at the academy with their modified Herndon Climb, Buck said in a video posted to Instagram.Advertisement

Buck’s letter shared more details for the modified Commissioning Week, which will be in-person, the academy announced last week.

Each graduating midshipman will receive two blue wristbands and four gold wristbands, which will be used for the events. Wristbands are transferrable between family members, according to the letter.

Most events will likely be gold events, meaning four people can attend, although COVID-19 protocols and venue size will determine capacity.

Some anticipated gold events will be the Blue Angels rehearsal on May 25 and Blue Angels flight demonstration on May 26. The 8th & I/Battle Color Detachment, also on May 26, and the Color Parade on May 27 are expected to be gold events, as well.

Each midshipman will receive four tickets to the Superintendent’s Garden Parties, which will be held throughout the week, and six tickets for graduation, according to the letter.

If there is inclement weather, the commissioning and graduation ceremony will be moved to Alumni Hall and only two guests will be allowed.

“From the very beginning, my goal has been to find a way to safely execute as many of our beloved Commissioning Week activities as possible; I know you have been looking forward to these events since your midshipman raised their right hand on I-Day,” Buck wrote in the letter.

Details for smaller events are still being fine-tuned, according to the letter, including access to the Yard. Vehicular access to the Yard will be limited to academy personnel and those with disability placards or tags. Families are encouraged to use the free Park and Ride shuttle from the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

More information will be provided at the Commissioning Week website as it is made available.

This article is written by Heather Mongilio from The Capital, Annapolis, Md. and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to