Baytown Native Serves Aboard Navy Warship in Japan

Style Magazine Newswire | 9/18/2017, 8:33 a.m.
A Bayton, Texas native and 2008 Ross S. Sterling High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the ...
Petty Officer 1st Class Charlon Clarke/Photo by Senior Chief Petty Officer Gary Ward

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tim Miller, Navy Office of Community Outreach

YOKOSUKA, Japan – A Bayton, Texas native and 2008 Ross S. Sterling High School graduate is serving in the U.S. Navy aboard the guided missile destroyer, USS Stethem.

Petty Officer 1st Class Charlon Clarke is an operations specialist aboard the forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer operating out of Yokosuka, Japan. Stethem is one of eight destroyers forward-deployed in Yokosuka.

As Navy operations specialist, Clarke leads junior sailors responsible for operating and maintaining radar, navigation and communication equipment aboard the ship.

“Growing up, I learned that you can’t control everything and you have to let some things go," said Clarke. "Being out in the Seventh Fleet, the workload is constantly changing and having a flexible mindset is essential.”

With more than 50 percent of the world's shipping tonnage and a third of the world's crude oil passing through the region, the U.S. has historic and enduring interests in this part of the world.

"Our alliance is rooted in shared interests and shared values," said Adm. Harry Harris, Commander, U.S. Pacific Command. "It's not hyperbole to say that the entire world has benefited from the U.S.-Japan alliance. While our alliance helped stabilize the region after the Second World War, it also enabled the Japanese people to bring about an era of unprecedented economic growth. And for the last six decades, our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have worked side by side with the Japan Self Defense Force to protect and advance peace and freedom."

Approximately 300 men and women serve aboard the ship. Their jobs are highly specialized and keep each part of the ship running smoothly, according to Navy officials. They do everything from maintaining gas turbine engines and operating the highly sophisticated Aegis weapons system to driving the ship and operating small boats.

Forward-deployed sailors are crucial to the success of the global Navy mission and earn high praise from their leaders.

“Seeing other sailors I’ve been mentoring advance and grow personally and profesionally is very rewarding,” said Clarke.

Sailors serving abroad in Japan are highly motivated and quickly adapt to changing conditions, explained Navy officials.

“If it wasn’t for the Navy I would never have met my wife and started a family," added Clarke. "Serving to me means giving back. I plan on making this a life long career and consider it a privilege to take the watch from sailors who have served before me.”

With the ability to conduct anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare, destroyers are capable of sustained maritime operations supporting forward naval presence, maritime security, sea control, deterrence of aggressive actions on U.S. partners around the globe, as well as humanitarian assistance. Fast, maneuverable, and technically advanced, destroyers provide credible combat power, at and from the sea.