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Col. Donnelly: Marine who died was 'rising star' in Naval Aviation community

Posted at 3:21 PM, Aug 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-29 01:05:25-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The Commanding Officer of Marine Aviation Training Support Group 22 is speaking out about the tragic death of a local Marine.

According to investigators, 25-year-old Clark Perkins died from blunt force trauma on Wednesday after being slammed into the rocks near Packery Channel.

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

On Thursday, the Marine Corps confirmed that Perkins was a student aviator assigned to Marine Aviation Training Support Group 22 (MATSG-22) at Naval Air Station Corpus Christi.

In a statement to KRIS 6 News on Friday, Commanding Officer Col. William Donnelly said:

"1st Lieutenant Clark Perkins' tragic death is a tremendous loss to our Nation and to the Marine Corps. He was a rising star in the Naval Aviation community and was well on his way towards his goal of becoming a Naval Aviator. Clark had recently selected the jet training pipeline and undoubtedly would have made an excellent tactical jet aviator for many years to come. We want to express our sincerest condolences to his family for his loss and hope they can find comfort in this trying time."

After the reported fatality, Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb signed an order to close vehicle access to all Gulf coast beaches until surf conditions improved.

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.

According to base records, Perkins was recently promoted to the rank of First Lieutenant in May of this year.