Grease is back for obelisk climb at Naval Academy

May 23, 2011 - 2:45 AM

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The grease is back at the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland.

After safety concerns prompted a greaseless climb last year, academy students — known as "plebes" during their first year — will again climb the grease-covered 21-foot Herndon Monument on Monday.

Vice Adm. Michael Miller, the superintendent, says he decided after careful consideration to restore the tradition of greasing the obelisk.

The students form a pyramid of bodies to hoist a classmate to replace a first-year student's hat with a midshipman's hat on top of the obelisk.

Students have sustained minor injuries in the past, prompting Miller's predecessor to hold a greaseless climb last year.

Grumbling from alumni could be heard almost immediately after that climb began and an event that has taken hours in past years was over in minutes.