Air Station Sacramento executes a wide range of Coast Guard missions for the Eastern Pacific Area; from the entire west coast of the United States, areas west of Canada and south along the Baja California coast. Carrying out missions such as search and rescue and marine and environmental, the air station maintains a 24-hour immediate response capability, with a “ready” crew on duty at all times. One of the dedicated crewmembers who stands this watch is Auxiliarist Ron Clark.
In the past decade, Clark has volunteered more than 1,000 hours of duty and amassed 885 hours of flight. The bulk of this unprecedented volunteerism was through his time as an operations duty officer where his professionalism and experience are unmatched amongst the qualified duty officers.
“Ron Clark is a true force multiplier. His good nature is infectious and his work ethic is refreshing. When I see that Mr. Clark is coming in for a shift, I know that operations at our unit are in good hands,” said Lt. Adam McCarthy, a pilot at the air station and fellow operations duty officer.
At 74, the retired teacher manages initial search and rescue and law enforcement missions skillfully and new members wishing to learn from the best often seek his wisdom. In fact, Clark has trained more than 75 operations duty officers and 35 junior operations duty officers.
The number of hours he has volunteered speak for themselves. But it’s those he works with who bring true meaning to his work.
“Mr. Ronald C. Clark personifies ‘Team Coast Guard.’ If Auxiliarists were measured by volunteerism alone, Ron Clark would be in a class all by himself,” said Lt. Callan Robbins, a pilot and operations duty officer.
In addition to being a mentor, those who work with Clark consider him a shipmate and a friend.
“He dedicates himself to serving his country and community on his own time and does it in a way that brings great credit to our service. It’s a true pleasure to know and work with Ron,” said McCarthy.
He has been through seven executive officers and six commanding officers bringing an important level of continuity to the air station. While he stands the watch, he also holds a variety of other positions at the air station including assistant flight schedules officer, resident fisheries expert and aerial flight observer.
As the assistant flight scheduler, Clark provided the necessary continuity to the operations department. Each week, he took the initiative to ensure the following week’s schedule was promulgated on time for the air station’s four C-130 airplanes, 19 pilots and close to 30 weekly events.
Clark was also an integral flight crew member for the air station’s diverse living marine resources preservation flights. Last year alone he has accrued more than 160 hours of flight time and was directly involved in four fisheries violations and interdictions.
“His nearly daily presence reminds us that we are a diverse organization reliant on a highly experienced volunteer force – and for that we are grateful for his service,” said Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Smith, assistant operations officer.