WEST POINT, N.Y. — Every year at the end of summer training, freshman cadets at the U.S. Military Academy cut loose a bit and blow off steam with a good, old-fashioned pillow fight.
But this year there must’ve been a bit more steam than usual.
At the end of the 1200 person brawl, 30 cadets were injured, including 24 with concussions, one with a broken leg and a number of others with dislocated shoulders, according to the New York Times. That doesn’t include the other countless first-year “plebes” left bloodied and battered in the chaos.
Participants in the annual event are required to wear helmets to prevent injuries, but video shows that many did not, and some even weaponized their helmets by stuffing them into the pillowcases.
In the video, you can see why some cadets opted to wear body armor. As one cadet tweeted, it was “one hell of a pillow fight.”
The pillow fight has been a staple at the publicly-funded institution since at least 1897. According to Lt. Col. Christopher Kasker, an Academy spokesperson, the event is intended to build camaraderie among the ‘plebes’ before they begin their grueling first year.
“West Point applauds the cadets’ desire to build esprit and regrets the injuries to our cadets,” Kasker told the New York Times. “We are conducting appropriate investigations into the causes of the injuries.”
The Academy has yet to punish any freshman and has announced no plans to cancel future fights. They report that all cadets have returned to duty.
The school’s 2012 pillow fight also got violent when a cadet put a lockbox in his pillowcase, and as a result the event was cancelled in 2013.