WEST POINT, NY - Mob violence struck the United States Military Academy at West Point yesterday when a large confrontation between upperclassmen and freshmen, also known as Plebes, resulted in over 60 casualties, many life threatening.
This latest incident follows close behind the tragic events at the United States Air Force Academy, when almost two dozen cadets were injured after freshmen attempted to sexually assault a cadet first sergeant, prompting those attempting to assist in the rape and those opposing forcible sodomy to clash with violent results.
The West Point incident began with a traditional pillow fight between plebes in the North Area, an open space between the multi-story barracks. After a pre-arranged signal, freshmen with nothing better to do on a Friday night rushed into the large courtyard and began to pummel each other over the sounds of AC/DC and the screaming of upperclassmen returning from social privileges, many of whom were visibly intoxicated, goading the combatants into a pillow swinging frenzy.
Although military police are still investigating, they have provided The Duffel Blog with a rough timeline of the events that followed:
At approximately 2315 hours, a series of loud air-horn blasts echoed across the campus; the pre-arranged signal for the pillow fight to begin.
Minutes later, as the mock battle was underway, John Murdock and his roommate Mike Wilkenson, seniors who had returned late to the barracks, cut across North Area in an attempt to reach their room, inadvertently walking into the middle of the fray.
At first the Plebes nearest the intoxicated upperclassmen parted to allow them room to pass, but as they entered the crowd, a pack of young freshmen closed behind them, forming a menacing wall and preventing their escape.
The two upperclassmen, sensing danger, pushed their way to a corner of the Area where they were reinforced by approximately 45 upperclassmen from the Mac Arthur Barracks who had witnessed their classmate’s plight.
Standing shoulder to shoulder, the upperclassmen, wearing an assortment of evening civilian wear and smelling heavily of cologne and grain alcohol, stared at the far larger mass of sweat-suit clad Plebes and grimly prepared for battle.
Things escalated when LaDarius Michaels, a plebe from New York City, reached into his pillowcase and grabbed a butterfly knife. When commanded to stand down, instead of complying, fellow plebe Steve Laughlin removed a pair of shuriken throwing stars from his own case and readied them for use.
Tension filled the air as the outnumbered upperclassmen realized they would be forced to confront the horde of sexually deprived teenagers, and prepared for combat.
Nicholas Sharp, a senior from Sherryville, Indiana reached into his leather jacket and produced a studded blackjack. His classmate, Megan Freeman, then retrieved a large spear inexplicably stored in the nearby bushes, and pointed it at the encroaching mob.
In the moments that followed, both sides produced a mind-boggling assortment of weapons, made all the more disturbing by the ease with which they were obtained in the tightly controlled and supervised Military Academy: baseball bats, Japanese samurai swords, chains, leather fetish whips, stun guns, crowd control shotguns, military bayonets, and in one case a ceremonial cadet 7.62mm M-14 assault rifle that had been retooled and loaded with live ammunition.
“There’s always some rivalry and some fighting going on,” said Cadet Steven Winter, “but this one definitely escalated quickly.”
Details are still forthcoming, but it appears that a freshman spit in the face of an unpopular female member of the Cadet Brigade Staff, which finally triggered the violence. The next few minutes were a veritable orgy of destruction as the two sides tore into each other with unholy fury, bellowing war-cries and Army slogans while drenching the time-worn asphalt of the North Area with the blood of their enemies.
The Corps of Cadets was saved from further loss by the playing of TAPS over the campus PA system at precisely 2330, immediately dispersing the combatants and ending the battle.
When the evening Officer of the Guard arrived minutes later to ensure cadets were complying with the lights out policy, he witnessed a North Area littered with the broken bodies of fallen cadets pleading for medical aid, while the smoke from an M-68 fragmentation grenade drifted through the air.
Freshmen Jeremy Everret was found 45 minutes after the battle, wandering aimlessly in the cadet parking lot with a razor-tipped hunting arrow lodged in his shoulder, humming the Army song and muttering something about missing duties.
The following day, In a statement to the press, Commandant Brigadier General Theodore Martin said that the cadets who participated in the Pillow-fight Massacre displayed the warrior ethos expected of future US Army officers and will not be charged for assault or attempted homicide.
The 63 cadets found wounded after the battle however, will be given punishment tours for violating the after-TAPs curfew policy as soon as they are released from the hospital.