Rialto Native Petty Officer Clark Serves Aboard USS ESSEX

10/2/2014, 6 a.m. | Updated on 10/2/2014, 12:29 a.m.
A 1997 A.B. Miller High School graduate and Rialto, Calif., native is serving aboard USS Essex (LHD 2), the largest ...
Terry L.Clark

By: Lt. Ana Maring, Navy Office of Community Outreach

San Diego, CA-- A 1997 A.B. Miller High School graduate and Rialto, Calif., native is serving aboard USS Essex (LHD 2), the largest of all amphibious warfare ships and resembles a small aircraft carrier.

Petty Officer 1st Class Terry L. Clark is an aviation boatswain’s mate (fuels) aboard the San Diego-based WASP-class amphibious assault ship that is nearly as long as 3 football fields at 844 feet. The ship is 106 feet wide and weighs more than 40,650 tons. Two geared steam turbine engines can push the ship through the water at more than 24 mph.

USS Essex (LHD 2) is fifth ship to bear the name Essex. It is named after a town and county in Massachusetts which is significant because of the tie in with the people of Essex County in 1798 and the building of the first USS Essex.

An experience Sailor with numerous responsibilities, Clark said he followed his brother into the Navy. “My brother was in and told me good things about the Navy,” said Clark.

He also said he is proud of the work he is doing as part of the Essex’s 1200-member crew, protecting and defending America on the world’s oceans. “I recently joined the Essex. We are a Navy and Marine team to combat anything at any time,” said Clark.

Sailors’ jobs are highly varied aboard USS Essex. Approximately 73 officers, 1109 enlisted men and women make up the ship’s company, which keeps all parts of the ship running smoothly — this includes everything from washing dishes and preparing meals to handling weaponry and maintaining the engines. Another 1800 or so form the Marine Corps Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and Essex is capable of transporting the MEU and landing them in hostile territory via landing craft or helicopters.

“USS Essex is truly a fine warship and the crew that mans her is second to none,” said Capt. Peter Mantz, the ship’s commanding officer. “The sailors and Marines of Essex have been working diligently to prepare this warship, and I feel an unparalleled sense of pride working alongside our nation’s finest sailors and Marines.”

The principle mission of Essex is to conduct prompt, sustained operations at sea, primarily as the centerpiece and flagship of the Amphibious Ready Group. Essex provide the means to transport, deploy, command and support all elements of a Marine landing force of over 1,800 troops during an assault by air and amphibious craft.

Designed to be versatile, Essex has the option of simultaneously using helicopters, Harrier jets, and Landing Craft Air Cushioned (LCAC), as well as conventional landing craft and assault vehicles in various combinations. Because of their inherent capabilities, these ships have been and will continue to be called upon to also support humanitarian and other contingency missions on short notice.

As a member of one of the U.S. Navy’s largest amphibious assault ships, Clark and other Essex sailors are proud to part of a warfighting team that readily defends America at all times.

“The Navy has been a great experience and has done good things for me and my family,” said Clark. “If you don’t have a plan it’s a good way to start off, a great career.”