Naval Academy Names New Commandant

Midshipmen walking to class at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis

Capt. Bill Byrne, a former quarterback at the Naval Academy, will return to Annapolis this spring as commandant of midshipmen, officials said Thursday.

"I'm thrilled to become a part of the team that gets the next generation of leaders ready to enter the fleet," Byrne, who graduated in 1987, said in a statement. "The ensigns and second lieutenants coming out of the Naval Academy seem to get better every year."

The 4,400-member brigade of midshipmen currently includes Byrne's daughter Brigid, due to graduate this year, and his son Michael, a plebe.

Byrne will succeed current Commandant Capt. Robert E. Clark II, who is scheduled to leave the academy this spring after a three-year tour, officials said.

Byrne, currently the chief of staff to the commander of the Third Fleet in San Diego, has commanded the frigate U.S.S. Halyburton and the cruiser U.S.S. Cape St. George.

Earlier in his career, he served as a gunnery officer, main propulsion assistant, anti-submarine warfare officer, weapons officer, combat systems officer and executive officer.

Byrne was a three-year starter at quarterback for Navy. He co-captained the team in his senior year and still holds the school record for career passing touchdowns.

He graduated with a bachelor's degree in political science and later earned a master's degree in national resource strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, part of the National Defense University.

As commandant of midshipmen, he will be responsible for the military and professional development of the future Navy and Marine Corps officers at Annapolis. The position, second-in-command at the academy, is analogous to a dean of students at a civilian college.

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