main story image for facebook sharing


Rear Admiral Peter J. Clarke

Navy Leaders

Join us as we celebrate Hispanic Sailors, past and present, and their important contributions to the defense of our nation.

Rear Adm. Peter J. Clarke is currently serving as Commander, Joint Task Force Guantanamo

Q: Why did you decide to join the Navy?

A:While growing up in Panama, we visited the Panama Canal frequently and I was always impressed with the Navy ships and the Navy families that lived in the Canal Zone. When deciding on options for college, the Navy ROTC scholarship provided a good opportunity to pay for my education while giving me the opportunity to serve our country.

Q: Who are the role models or mentors that have influenced you, or helped guide you?

A:I have been fortunate to serve alongside many individuals who became positive role models by their actions and demeanor. My first Commanding Officer on USS INDIANAPOLIS (SSN 697), CAPT (Ret) Harry Sheffield, taught me the importance of high day-to-day standards while maintaining a positive command climate. As I've become more senior, my recent superiors have each provided profound examples that the most important thing we do as leaders is to take care of our people. Their example also continues to remind me of the importance of a good life-work balance.

Q: Which past assignments are the most memorable to you, and why?

A:The opportunity to lead highly motivated men and women who want to serve their country and make a difference has made my assignments in command truly memorable. Serving as Commanding Officer of a submarine and as Commander of a Joint Task Force comprised of 2000 service men and women of all services have been very special.

Q: Can you share a story about someone who has influenced or challenged you to become your best?

A:When I began my department head tour as Engineer Officer, I was fortunate to have now CAPT (Ret) John Pasko as my Executive Officer. Besides being a great friend, he was always there to give me perspective and advice while I learned how to do what has turned out to be the most challenging job in my career. I have never forgotten his advice to listen to 'the little man on my shoulder.'
Join us as we celebrate Rear Adm. Peter J. Clarke, and his important contributions to the defense of our nation.

Join us as we celebrate Rear Adm. Peter J. Clarke, and his important contributions to the defense of our nation.

Q: Sept 15-Oct 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month. What does being an Hispanic leader in the Navy mean to you? Is there someone from this community that has influenced you, or who has a story that is interesting to you?

A: I consider myself a leader who is of Hispanic heritage, not a Hispanic leader. That distinction is important because I believe that a true measure of diversity is having an organization where people of different backgrounds are represented consistent with the broader population, integrate seamlessly, are not categorized by gender, race, color, creed, sexual orientation or any other socio-economic factor, and are all accepted and treated with respect and with the same opportunities for advancement and success. Having the privilege of serving as a Flag Officer gives me the opportunity to show others of Hispanic heritage that there are no barriers to succeeding in the Navy. Anyone, regardless of background or ethnicity, has the same opportunity to become a leader and to serve our nation proudly.