Rear Admiral James McNeal, SC, USN (Ret.), USNA class of 1986, author of The Herndon Climb, and former Marine Captain Mark Treanor, USNA class of 1968, author of A Quiet Cadence, will discuss their books at the new Jack C. Taylor Conference Center on October 22, 2021 from 1130 - 1300.

Capt Zac Blanchard USMC, will moderate.

Jack C. Taylor Conference Center, U.S. Naval Academy

Important note: Drive on access to the Naval Academy with proper Gov/Mil I.D., walk-ons permitted with state and local I.D. at the gates. Gate 8 is the closest to the conference center. For more information, please read USNA Maps and Directions prior to your visit. *Masks are required at this event to help ensure the health and safety of guests and staff.


The Herndon Climb is an important and meaningful ritual in Naval Academy culture. Scaling the heavily greased, 21-foot tall Herndon Monument as a group at the very end of the year for "plebes," or freshmen, the Climb marks a major turning point in the lives of all Midshipmen, who are relieved of their low status at the moment they complete the task. The book is culled from interviews with more than fifty subjects, including participants in Climbs over the past six decades, with personal observations from the 2019 and 2018 events. Co-author James McNeal recalls the joyful pride of participating in the Climb as a plebe in 1983, and his experience helps bring vivid detail to the memories and reflections of his fellow Midshipmen. 

The book also includes a discussion of the career of William Lewis Herndon, whose heroic sacrifice at sea inspired the monument, and also traces the history and development of the modern Climb to its roots in the earliest plebe celebrations.


Sometimes it takes years for a combat vet to understand what war did to him when he was nineteen. With the perception and reflection of a man on the cusp of retirement from a career teaching high school kids, Marty McClure recalls the relentless intensity of prolonged combat as a teenaged Marine machine gunner facing booby traps and battles in a war with few boundaries.

Family and friends know Marty as a kind, peaceful man. They aren’t aware that when he was young, he plumbed the depths of terror, hatred, and despair with no assurance he’d ever surface again.   Now he needs to reveal what happened in Vietnam and how, with the help of Patti, his wife, Corrie Corrigan, a disabled vet, and Doc Matheson, a corpsman turned trauma surgeon, he works to become a good husband, father, and teacher while he fights to bury the war. Only if he accepts help from his wife and his friends will he find real peace.

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Save the Date - The Herndon Climb and A Quiet Cadence