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Vern Clark

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Vernon E. Clark (born September 7, 1944) is a retired admiral who served as the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) of the United States Navy. He retired on July 22, 2005, making his tenure of five years the second-longest serving CNO behind Arleigh Burke. He currently sits on the board of directors of Raytheon and SRI International. In November 2009, he was selected along with former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Togo West by Defense Secretary Robert Gates to lead the military investigation into the Fort Hood massacre.

Vernon E. Clark
Clark in 2000
Born (1944-09-07) September 7, 1944 (age 75)
Sioux City, Iowa, United States
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Navy
Years of service1968–2005
Commands heldChief of Naval Operations
United States Atlantic Fleet
United States Second Fleet
Cruiser-Destroyer Group 3
Destroyer Squadron 17
Destroyer Squadron 5
USS Spruance (DD-963)
USS Grand Rapids (PG-98)
Battles/warsVietnam War
Gulf War
AwardsDefense Distinguished Service Medal (3)
Navy Distinguished Service Medal (3)
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal
Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit (3)
Other workRaytheon, Board of Directors
SRI International, Board of Directors

Early life and educationEdit

Clark was born in Sioux City, Iowa, and grew up in the states of Nebraska, Missouri and Illinois. Clark graduated from Evangel College and earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Arkansas. He attended Officer Candidate School and received his commission in August 1968.


Clark speaking aboard USS Wisconsin in 2005.
Clark (left) relieving Johnson as Chief of Naval Operations
Clark at the Pentagon during the September 11 attacks in 2001.

Clark served aboard the destroyers USS John W. Weeks (DD-701) and USS Gearing (DD-710). As a lieutenant, he commanded USS Grand Rapids (PG-98). He subsequently commanded USS McCloy (FF-1038), USS Spruance (DD-963), the Atlantic Fleet's Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center, Destroyer Squadron 17, and Destroyer Squadron 5. After being selected for flag rank, Clark commanded Carl Vinson Battle Group/Cruiser-Destroyer Group 3, Second Fleet, and United States Atlantic Fleet.

Ashore, Clark first served as Special Assistant to the Director of the Systems Analysis Division in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. He later completed assignments as the Administrative Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Surface Warfare) and as the Administrative Aide to the Vice Chief of Naval Operations. He served as Head of the Cruiser-Destroyer Combat Systems Requirements Section and Force Anti-Submarine Warfare Officer for the Commander, Naval Surface Force, Atlantic Fleet, and he directed the Joint Staff's Crisis Action Team for Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm.[citation needed]

Clark's first flag assignment was at the United States Transportation Command (TRANSCOM), where he was Director of Plans and Policy (J5) and Financial Management and Analysis (J8). While commanding the Carl Vinson Battle Group, he deployed to the Persian Gulf and later served as the Deputy Commander, Joint Task Force Southwest Asia. Clark has also served as the Deputy and Chief of Staff, United States Atlantic Fleet; the Director of Operations (J3) and subsequently Director, of the Joint Staff.[citation needed]

Clark became the 27th Chief of Naval Operations on July 21, 2000, relieving Jay L. Johnson. In 2001, Clark was considered to be on the "short list" of choices for Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff[citation needed]; the eventual pick was Air Force General Richard Myers.[1]

Clark now serves on the Board of Directors of Raytheon Company, Rolls Royce North America, SRI International, Horizon Lines, the Armed Forces YMCA, and is on the World Board of Governors of the USO. He serves as a senior advisor with Booz Allen Hamilton, the Defense Policy Board, the advisory boards of Fleishman-Hillard, Computer Science Corporation, the Comptroller General's Advisory Board of the GAO, and the Executive Committee of Military Ministry. In addition, he is currently a distinguished professor at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Clark teaches in the Robertson School of Government and the School of Business & Leadership[2] and is a member of the Regent's Board of Trustees. He is also a member of the Board of Visitors at Air University.[citation needed]

Awards and decorationsEdit


  1. ^ Mike Allen (August 23, 2001). "Air Force General Myers to Become Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff". Washington Post.
  2. ^ "School of Business & Leadership Degrees | Regent University". School of Business & Leadership. Retrieved Aug 24, 2019.
  3. ^ "Admiral Vern Clark, U.S. Navy (Ret.)". Securing America's Future. Retrieved Aug 24, 2019.
  4. ^ "Admiral Vern Clark Joins SRI International Board of Directors" (Press release). SRI International. 2007-03-26. Retrieved 2013-07-10.

External linksEdit

This article incorporates text in the public domain from the U.S. Department of Defense.
Military offices
Preceded by
Jay L. Johnson
Chief of Naval Operations
Succeeded by
Michael Mullen