USS BOXER, At Sea - When Senior Chief Boatswain’s Mate (SW/AW) Deondra Quarles, stationed aboard guided-missile frigate USS Gary (FFG 51), saw his name on the advancement list for master chief in May of this year, he knew he could be picking orders to a new duty station.
He had a choice to make. He could either stay on the ship or pick a new command.
Quarles contacted his brother for advice, Lt. Cmdr. Leon Quarles, assistant supply officer for the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4), also stationed in San Diego.
Leon replied with a suggestion based on his knowledge of Boxer.
“When I saw my brother’s name on the list of the selected master chiefs, I knew he was in his window for new orders,” said Leon. “So when we spoke, I told him that Boxer could have an opening for deck department LCPO [leading chief petty officer] and that I’d look into trying to get him here.”
Several weeks later, Deondra received a phone from Boxer’s Bos’n, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Phillip E. Rice, who worked with Deondra previously on shore duty, and asked if he was interested in coming aboard.
“I said I’d love to,” replied Deondra.
Rice then contacted the Command Master Chief (CMC) of Boxer and the personnel officer to help finalize the process, and within a couple of months, Deondra received orders to Boxer in July of this year.
When asked how he felt once he found out his brother would be stationed aboard Boxer, a smile came across Leon’s face and he replied, “It was a great feeling. I was so glad everything worked out the way it did.”
The Quarles brothers have always been stationed near each other, but never at the same command.
“It was unexpected, really,” added Deondra.
Deondra explained that maintaining professionalism aboard the ship is imperative.
“Even though he’s my brother, I still salute him when I see him,” he said. “I still address and reply to him as ‘sir.’”
Most Sailors don’t have the luxury of seeing their sibling whenever they want. The Quarles brothers get a chance to work hand in hand during shipboard operations.
“It’s interesting because not only do I get to see him at work, but, I get to see him at work-doing his job,” described Leon.
When time permits, the brothers visit each other and catch up over a cup of coffee.
If their similarity in appearance didn’t give them away as siblings, their favorite hobbies would.
When asked, “what is something that people might not know about your brother?” They both responded with the same answer, “He loves fishing and hunting.”
And the Quarles family, originally from Penola, Alabama, is about as Navy blue as they come.
The Quarles brothers have three other siblings. One of whom is a command master chief on the east coast and two retired-all with more than 20 years of naval service.
“To be honest, I always looked up to my brother,” said Deondra. “Out of all the five siblings, he is the only one who is a commissioned officer.”
The Quarles brothers have both been in the Navy for more than 25 years and plan on continuing the Navy tradition.