Six cadets were hospitalized and 27 were injured in bizarre brawl at the Air Force Academy during an unofficial ritual marking the year’s first snowfall.
Among the injuries, Fox 21 Colorado reports, were concussions, cuts, and at least one human bite. The ritual, called “First Shirt, First Snow” involved freshmen cadets trying to throw First Sergeants, unofficially called First Shirts, into the snow.
Brig. General Dana Born wrote in an internal email that made the rounds through various media agencies that the event has grown more dangerous in recent years.
”This ritual has devolved to become increasingly violent, with significant numbers of cadets requiring medical care over the past two years,” Born wrote in her email. ”What used to be (freshmen) throwing the first shirt into the snow has turned into a brawl between upperclassmen defending the first sergeant and the (freshmen) trying to capture the first sergeant.”
The brawl took place at the Air Force Academy, located outside Colorado Springs, Colorado. School officials have stopped short of banning the ritual at the Academy, which has about 4,000 students. When students graduate from the Air Force Academy, they are commissioned in the Air Force as Second Lieutenants
Boston.com reported that no word was handed down concerning cadet discipline, though an Air Force Academy statement said the matter was a “teachable moment” for the cadets involved in the brawl. Brig. Gen. Gregory Lengyel, the commandant of cadets, called the brawl “unacceptable” and said he did not know how many cadets were involved in the fight. He said it was a relatively small number.