On May 23 the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., graduated 1,037 midshipmen to be commissioned into the Navy and Marine Corps. Flying six F/A-18 hornets the U.S. Navy Blue Angels performed its traditional “flyover” to kick-off the 158th graduation. At the ceremony, Kaua‘i-born Bernard Quibilan received his own honorary graduation.
Quibilan reported to the Naval Academy as the Command Master Chief in June 2004, two days prior to the arrival of the class of 2008. Son of Maura and the late Carlos Quibilan of Lihu‘e, he joined the Navy in June 1975 and retired July 2007, after a 32-year career.
Prior to retirement he served a three-year tenure at the Naval Academy where he counseled and mentored midshipmen in preparation for their commissioning. Quibilan was seen everywhere on campus — from the dormitory to the classrooms, from parades to the sidelines of the Army-Navy football games. He provided counsel and career guidance at every opportunity and at any venue possible.
The Lihu‘e-born Quibilan was honored by the most recent Naval Academy graduates. The following is an excerpt from the Naval Academy class of 2008 class president:
“Master Chief Bernard Quibilan, if you would please rise. Master Chief Quibilan served as our command Master Chief from the time we arrived on induction day until his retirement last summer. As the highest ranking senior enlisted leader on the yard, he role-modeled, gave advice and provided strategies for engaging the sailors and Marines that will shortly be under our command. His indefatigable school spirit resonated with the brigade as he encouraged us to vandalize his home before football games. We dutifully complied with balloons, toilet paper and 4,700 post-it notes covering his office, each one of them reading “Beat Army.” His ability to single-handedly boost brigade morale is a testament to his leadership, his dedication to this institution and his love of the Naval service. Thank you very much, Master Chief.”