In 1968 the head of the Athletic Department was Heinz Lenz.
He was obviously of German descent. He came up with this great idea for Plebe Summer. The Plebes needed physical training. So he created P.E.P. P.E.P. stands for Physical Education Program. In the 1990's the acronym had another meaning, Physical Excellence Program. One summer the Detailers to created a huge bedsheet sign and wrote. "Plebe Elimination Program." It was flying above LeJeune for about five minutes. The Superintendent saw it and immediately had it taken down, and rightfully so.
Heinz passed away in 2006 and left PEP as his legacy. Several years before his passing, he returned to the PEP field. He sat down on a bench at the entrance. He was accompanied by, I believe. his son who wanted to take him back to the PEP field. Heinze had dementia at the time, but did know where he was. He wanted to see his grandson, who was participating that morning as Plebe in the PEP program. a new Plebes at the Academy. His grandson was okay with his grandfather attending PEP, but had one favor, not to tell anyone that he was Heinz's grandson. Heinz honored the request.
A bit of irony, in 1978, eleven years after the first PEP, a plebe by the name of Jay Antonelli entered the Academy. He graduated in 1982. Twenty years later he would take over and become the new "Heinz Lenz." Like Heinz, Major Antonelli, now retired, can run circles around the Plebes.
What is P.E.P.?
It is a strenuous exercise program. It is held every day of the week except Wednesday and Sunday. It is rather routine, but is not the same from day to day. It has several components: warm ups, strength, agility, endurance.
The Plebes do not wake up with an alarm clock or sweet soothing music. Rather, pans being thrown in the hallways and yelling by the Detailers. You would not think this the night before as you leave your Plebe because the Detailers are all "Sweetness and light." The training begins the next morning.
IST: The Initial Strength Test is the held the morning after Induction Day. Each Plebe is tested on the following: number of pushups in a minute, number of sit ups in a minute, and the time for a one mile run. Times are recorded and at the end of the summer the same tests are conducted. The two are compared. Then, during Parents' Weekend, during the PEP parents are typically allowed to attend, the impressive results are announced. The test at the end of the summer is called the PRT, or Physical Readiness Test. It is a test every midshipman must go through twice during each of their four years at the Academy. If he/she doe snot pass, off too an exercise program they go.
RUNS are a major part of P.E.P. There are several types;
1) The Ability Group Run. This run varies from one mile at the beginning of the summer to maybe two miles near the end of the summer. Based on he times during the IST for the one mile run, the Plebe are grouped. The fastest group usually goes directly to the Track Field as they are typically track and field Plebes. Groups 2 through 5 run around the perimeters of various athletic field. Group 6 you do not want to be in. You run on the grass field in circle. These are the Plebes not in good shape at all.
2) Company Runs are exactly that. They are runs as a company. Plebes stay within their company.
3) Braveheart is a great run. After an initial warmup on the PEP Field, the Plebes run to Hospital Point. This is where the Alumni Picnic will be held on Induction Day. The Plebes, en masse, run up and down the field three times. The length of the run increases as the summer progresses. The Plebes yell "Freedom "as in the movie with Mel Gibson, Braveheart. Before the runs Major Antonelli will give a motivational speech to he Plebes about freedom. He wears a kilt and a sword. Some times there are bagpipes on the field playing. It is a very impressive sight. Held usually on Saturdays.