Monday, June 29, 2015

USNA Promotes, Bids Farewell to 85th Commandant of Midshipmen

The U.S. Naval Academy held an end of tour and promotion ceremony for Rear Adm. Bill Byrne in Dahlgren Hall June 29.

Prior to the promotion ceremony, Marine Corps Col. Stephen Liszewski, a career artillery officer and 1990 academy graduate, officially relieved Byrne of his duties and became the second Marine to hold the title of Commandant of Midshipmen.

During the ceremony, Byrne was promoted to the rank of rear admiral (lower half) and presented with his third Legion of Merit.

Byrne, a native of San Francisco, Ca., and a 1987 academy grad, has served as Commandant of Midshipmen for two years, leading and inspiring future Navy and Marine Corps officers with his personal motto, “Be excellent. Be excellent to yourselves, be excellent to each other, and be excellent to this place.”

Photo by MC2 Nathan Wilkes

"This is a really great but bittersweet day," said Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Ted Carter. "We are saying goodbye to a good friend, a gifted leader, and a fantastic Navy family. Bill has a bigger-than-life personality and his campaign of ‘being excellent’ has really resonated with the midshipmen during his time here. Everyone here today could not be more proud to stand next to him and watch him go to the next level.”

After his promotion, Rear Adm. Byrne offered a few words of encouragement and gratitude to the midshipmen, faculty, staff, and family members in attendance.

Photo by MC2 Nathan Wilkes

“We would all do well to just have faith in ourselves and those around us,” said Byrne. “No matter who you are or what role you play in the development of these superstars, just have faith that the example you set is the one you intend.”  

Byrne is scheduled to relieve Rear Adm. Lisa Franchetti as Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea (CNFK) later this year.

CNFK is the U.S. Navy's representative in the Republic of Korea (ROK) and provides leadership and expertise in naval matters to the ROK to help improve institutional and operational effectiveness between the two navies and strengthen collective security efforts the region.

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