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Local Marines honor fallen student aviator

Posted at 6:57 PM, Sep 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-10 19:57:26-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Marine Aviation Training Support Group Twenty-Two (MATSG-22) held a memorial service to honor 1st Lt. Clark Perkins onboard Naval Air Station Corpus Christi on Thursday.

According to investigators, the 25-year-old Marine died after being slammed into rocks in a surfing accident near Packery Channel on August 26.

Hurricane Laura's development in the Gulf of Mexico generated both strong waves and riptides in the area.

Perkins was a student aviator assigned to MATSG-22 at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi.

"Clark sought and forever earned the title 'Marine,'" Commanding Officer Col. William Donnelly said during the service. "Of course, we know Clark was more than a Marine; he was a son, brother, and good friend."

The Fallen Soldier Battle Cross stood at attention as taps echoed through the base chapel with friends and colleagues sharing their memories of the young Marine through a video montage.

They described Perkins as an outstanding student, whose light and intelligence set him apart from other student pilots.

One instructor shared his experience working alongside the first lieutenant, saying, "What I will remember most was outside the grade sheets." Adding Perkins made a lasting impact and inspired other instructors to help them be the best possible.

Following the services, Training Squadron VT-28 gathered for a missing man formation aerial salute.

Perkins grew up in Fairfield, Conn. Before moving to Corpus Christi in October 2019, he had been stationed in Pensacola, Fla. from March 2019 to October 2019 and Quantico, Va. from July 2015 to March 2019.
Before his death, Perkins had been selected to fly the T-45 Goshawk at Naval Air Station Kingsville and begin the jet training pipeline.