FFG 11 Clark
CLARK is the fifth ship of the OLIVER HAZARD PERRY Class of guided missile frigate. Comprised of more than 50 ships, this is the Navy's largest and newest class of combatant construction program since World War II. CLARK's mission is to provide in-depth protection for military and merchant shipping, amphibious task forces, and underway replenishment groups.
The Clark was commissioned in May 1980 and decommissioned in March 2000. Following its decommissioning it was transferred to the Polish Navy where it was re-named the ORP General Pulaski.
In order to ensure a large homogenous class of capable, yet relatively inexpensive ships, many innovative concepts are incorporated into her design. Some of these concepts include modular construction techniques, and the utilization of numerous labor-saving devices to reduce the number of personnel required to man the ship. Also incorporated are many improvements in shipboard habitability, including individual lounge areas for each berthing area, and improved messing facilities.
In today's volatile defense environment, the ability to respond rapidly and effectively is the key to success. The hard fact is that our nation is dependent upon the seas for our very survival. CLARK's systems are designed to meet these requirements. The propulsion system is a computer-controlled, gas turbine power plant, utilizing jet engines similar to those used by the DC-10 airliner, and the Air Force C-5 Galaxy Strategic Transport aircraft. CLARK's propulsion plant can be "on-line" and ready in less than 10 minutes, as opposed to the minimum of four hours required for most conventional, steam power plants.
USS Clark (FFG 11) returned to Norfolk April 25, 1997 after completing a three-and-a-half month deployment to the Caribbean conducting counter-drug operations in support of Joint Interagency Task Force, East.
During the deployment the 150-person crew of Clark, supported by Selected Reservists and law enforcement personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard, performed detection, monitoring and boarding operations on vessels suspected of smuggling illegal drugs or immigrants. Teams from Clark boarded 20 vessels, one of which was carrying more than 1,100 pounds of cocaine and they interdicted a migrant smuggling operation.
The guided missile frigate conducted exercises with the Dutch navy during the deployment to help strengthen the naval coalition in the Caribbean
In 1997 the Clark took part in a Reserve Function Teams program that sought to alter the Navy's traditional means of reserve augmentation of surface ship from Ship Augment Units (SAUS) to functional teams. Unlike SAUS, which are reserve units that augment a wide range of shipboard functions on specific ships, functional teams are small units dedicated to a single ship mission such as guided missile frigate (FFG) flight deck operations.
To evaluate the concept, four Reserve Functional Teams were employed during Clark's recently completed counter- narcotics deployment in the Caribbean. Augmenting Clark were Combat Operations Center functional teams from Albany, N.Y., and Milwaukee, Wis., as well as FFG ship deck operations teams from Asheville, N.C., and Sioux City, Iowa.
The navy blue and gold on the shield of the coat of arms are the traditional colors of the U.S. Navy and the Academy of which Admiral Clark was a graduate. The pheons (arrowheads) represent the three wars in which he served. The upper pheon and wings allude to the ship's airborne weapons systems as well as to the Admiral's career-long interest in naval aviation and his skill as a navigator and battle tactician. The pheons further are symbolic of the weapons system of CLARK, and the ability to strike the enemy from great distances.
The winged sea horse on the crest is a symbol of Admiral Clark's career, relating to his close and long association with the air arm of the U.S. Navy and to his foresight and mastery of the combat tactics of air weapons systems. The thirteen stars denote his World War II campaign participation, the collar bearing the cross represents his highest award, the Navy Cross. The arrowhead refers to his home state of Oklahoma and to his Cherokee Indian heritage; the decresent simulates the initial letter of his last name.
Joseph J. "Jocko" Clark
"Part Cherokee, part Southern Methodist, but all fighter," Admiral Joseph James (Jocko) Clark, bold aircraft carrier commander and World War II hero, was thus described by the Navy historian Samuel Eliot Morison.
The legendary admiral forged a distinguished reputation as a fearless, aggressive leader and brilliant tactician during a 40 year career from service as Deck Officer, to pilot, to Fleet Commander.
Admiral Clark served as Executive Officer of the USS YORKTOWN; then he was designated the first Commanding Officer of two new carriers: USS SUWANEE and the new USS YORKTOWN. Later during World War II, he commanded a carrier task group. During the Korean War he commanded TASK FORCE 77, and was eventually assigned as Commander of the Seventh Fleet.
During World War I, Admiral Clark served on board the cruiser USS NORTH CAROLINA on Atlantic convoy duty. Subsequently, he served on board the USS AARON WARD, which was built at the Bath Iron Works, as was the ship that bears his name. Admiral Clark assumed command of the destroyer USS BROOKS in 1921. In 1925 he was designated a Naval Aviator, and thus commenced the chapter of his career in which he helped to pioneer developments in aviation tactics and doctrine that eventually proved successful in World War II. He was advanced to the rank of Admiral on the basis of the many citations he received in combat during World War II.
Admiral Clark retired from active duty on 1 December 1953. He died 13 July 1971 in St. Albans, New York.
Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Arthur W. Radford, has this to say of his departed shipmate and friend, "His is a quality not to be forgotton or lost as American youth today takes up the good fight where we left off."
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