Promotion Ceremony Remarks – 9/2/2012

Good afternoon, and welcome to the South Dakota Battleship Memorial on this beautiful, hot, sunny afternoon. I am CAPT Diane Diekman, and we’re here today to celebrate the promotion of Anastasia Quanbeck from commander to captain in the United States Naval Reserve. Greetings to family, friends, and shipmates.  A special welcome to CDR Quanbeck’s husband, Mark, children, Joel and Bailey, and parents, Pat and Marian Bailey.

Let me briefly mention how I came to have the honor of presiding at this ceremony.  I retired from the Navy in 2004, after traveling around the world as an aircraft maintenance officer.  My final assignment was on the Naval Inspector General staff in Washington D.C., and my retirement ceremony took place at the Navy Memorial there.

When I came back home to South Dakota two years ago, I didn’t expect to find much military activity or any opportunities to wear my uniform. I certainly didn’t think I’d still be ordering items from the Navy Uniform Shop! I learned there are Navy and Marine Corps birthday balls in Sioux Falls, VFW and American Legion funeral honor guards, and a battleship memorial that was looking for a captain for its board of directors.

That’s how I met CDR Qaunbeck. She called the battleship memorial to schedule her promotion ceremony, she was referred to me, and we agreed to have me conduct her ceremony.

People often get confused about Navy rank. Depending on the uniform, captains wear either these four gold stripes or the same silver eagles as colonels in the other services. Three gold stripes, as well as silver oak leaves, identify a commander. Before we change her shoulder boards and turn CDR Quanbeck into CAPT Quanbeck, I’ll administer the oath of office.

Both the officer and enlisted oaths begin with a pledge to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and to bear true faith and allegiance to it. The enlisted oath goes on to talk about obeying orders and following regulations. The officer’s oath amplifies the promise to support and defend the Constitution.

Although officers sometimes assume their oath requires obedience to superiors, it does not. Officers cannot use “I was only obeying orders” to justify an action. This doesn’t mean we don’t have to obey orders; it means our obligation to the Constitution is greater than our obligation to our superiors.

CDR Anastasia Quanbeck knows this well. She has twenty years experience as a naval leader. She is the best of the best. When the Navy Reserve Chief of Information at the Pentagon needed a new deputy director in 2008, a very junior CDR Quanbeck was chosen. She then moved up to take temporary command of the unit.  For the past two years she has been the commanding officer of the Navy Information Office for Navy Central Command’s Fifth Fleet Unit in Bahrain. Being in command is the ultimate for a military officer, in both prestige and responsibility. This wartime assignment is so important it was upgraded from a commander to captain billet, and CDR Quanbeck was doing a captain’s job.

When she had the appropriate number of years to be considered for her next rank, her name was placed in zone for promotion. There’s usually about a fifty percent selection rate to the rank of captain. And all candidates are fully qualified or they wouldn’t be there.  Anastasia Quanbeck made the cut.

No one gets to the top without the assistance of the whole team, though. CDR Quanbeck provided the atmosphere and support that allowed her staff to get the job done, time after time. I will let her tell you about the amazing advancement statistics in her command.  She deserves credit for their success. Her leadership allowed them to excel. And our Navy leadership can be confident she will continue to excel at every opportunity.

CDR Quanbeck, please come forward for the oath of office.  The family will assist with the promotion ceremony.

–CAPT Diane Diekman, USN (ret)

I, ——, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter. So help me God.

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