West Point set out to engage in their annual cadet pillow fight to celebrate the end of cadet training. Somewhere along the line, 30 cadets ended up injured.
Not exactly where you expect to get injured when you sign up to fight for your country…
Reports claim that one cadet had to be taken away in an ambulance, one came out with a broken leg, and multiple participants suffered from dislocated shoulders and concussions.
So how did pillows cause such severe injuries?
According to the New York Times, the pillow fight went wrong when some of the cadets stuffed helmets and body armor into their pillowcases with intentions of severely injuring the other participants.
Colonel Kasker, a spokesman for the academy that trained Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ulysses S. Grant, and Douglas MacArthur, released a statement announcing what is to follow the incident.
“West Point applauds the cadets’ desire to build esprit and regrets the injuries to our cadets,” he stated. “We are conducting appropriate investigations into the causes of the injuries.”
There is evidence of this tradition going as far back as 1897.
There are currently no plans to discontinue the pillow fight tradition and a spokesman from the academy stands by that decision, explaining that though the incident was “regrettable,” the tradition is done to build camaraderie among the newest members.
Were the cadets who stuffed the pillow with armor and helmets aware of the meaning behind this tradition…?
No one is being punished for causing injuries at this time.
The pillow fight is held in the central courtyard of training barracks and concludes an intense seven-month period of training, when cadets are not permitted to speak to one another.
The event itself is not actually endorsed by the commanders at West Point, but it is known that they choose to turn a blind eye each year, feeling that it serves as a vital bonding experience.
Apparently to get injured in a pillow fight is a good thing at West Point. Cadets told New York Times that they are to be expected and are often praised.
This is the first time West Point has ever commented on the injuries that took place, so it is impossible to compare this year’s injuries to the past. Cadets did, however, disclose that in 2012, a cadet put a lockbox in a pillowcase, which led to the cancellation of the 2013 fight.