Commanding Officer: Maximilian Clark

Capt. Max Clark was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1992 with a B.S. in Physics. He holds a M.A. in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College. He was designated a Naval Aviator in November 1994.

Captain Clark assumed command of USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Aug.1, 2019.

Upon completion of initial training in the SH-60F and HH-60H helicopters, Clark was assigned to Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron FIFTEEN (HS) 15 based in Jacksonville, FL, completing deployments on USS Enterprise (CVN 65) and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69).

For his initial shore tour, Clark reported to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron ONE (VX 1) at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD where he served as Operational Test Director and qualified in the SH-60B and MH-60S aircraft.

In 2001, Clark reported to the staff of Carrier Air Wing NINE as the Anti-Submarine Warfare and Combat Search and Rescue Officer and deployed on USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). Clark’s department head tour was with HS-8 in San Diego, CA, completing deployments on USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70).

Clark reported to the Dragonslayers of HS-11 in Jacksonville, FL as the Executive Officer and assumed command from December 2009 to April 2011. He deployed on USS Enterprise supporting Operation Enduring Freedom and anti-piracy operations.

After completing nuclear power training, Clark reported as Executive Officer of USS Harry S. Truman from April 2014 to April 2016 and deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. He then commanded USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) from May 2017 to August 2018, completing a deployment that supported Operation Odyssey Resolve.

Additionally, Clark served on the staff of U.S. Joint Forces Command and worked as a Washington DC and Congressional Liaison Officer. He also completed a tour at Navy Personnel Command in Millington, TN as the Helicopter Commander Detailer and Deputy Director for Aviation Officer Distribution. During his aviation career, he has accumulated over 3,700 flight hours.

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Executive Officer: Captain Matthew C. Thomas

Captain Thomas, a native of Nashport, Ohio, graduated with highest distinction with a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the United States Naval Academy in 1997 and with distinction from the United States Naval War College in 2011. He earned his wings of gold in 1999 and was assigned to Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 120 for initial training as an E-2C Hawkeye Replacement Pilot.

Capt. Thomas served as Commanding Officer of VAW-116 “Sun Kings” from October 2015 until April 2017. In addition, his career as a Naval Aviator includes assignments with VAW-124, Air Wing Staff Landing Signals Officer (LSO) and Air Wing Safety Officer with Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, Administrative and Maintenance Officer with VAW-117, and Executive Officer of VAW-116.

Ashore, he was assigned to VAW-120 as an Instructor Pilot and Carrier Qualification Phase Head; the Joint Staff, J-3, in the Deputy Directorate for Nuclear, Command and Control, and Homeland Defense (NC2HD); Navy Nuclear Power School; and Nuclear Power Training Unit. He has flown more than 4,300 flight hours in both the E-2C and F/A-18 and has made more than 500 carrier arrestments.

Capt. Thomas’ decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, seven Strike Flight Air Medals, five Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and various other unit citations and campaign ribbons. He is married to a former Naval Intelligence Officer, Kalee, and has two children, R.C. and Matthew.

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Command Master Chief Richard L. Mengel

Command Master Chief Rick Mengel enlisted in the Navy on 17 November, 1993 and received basic training at Recruit Training Command Orlando, FL.

His first sea tour was aboard USS Camden (AOE 2), PSNS Bremerton, WA as an Undesignated Seaman and later a Signalman Third Class. In 1998, be cross rated to Aviation Structural Mechanic and reported to his first shore tour at the EA-6B Fleet Replacement Squadron, home of the Vikings of VAQ- 129, NAS Whidbey Island, WA. His second sea tour was with the Zappers of VAQ-130, NAS Whidbey Island, WA where he qualified as an Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist and an Enlisted Surface Warfare Specialist deployed aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). His second shore-tour was at Recruit Training Command Great Lakes, IL where he served as a Recruit Division Commander and RDC "C” School Instructor and qualified as a Master Training Specialist.

His third sea tour was with the Zappers of VAQ-130, NAS Whidbey Island, WA.

Master Chief Mengel was selected for the Command Senior Chief program in 2011 and reported for his first command tour with Mine Countermeasure (MCM) Crew Persistent aboard six different MCM hulls. His second command tour was with USS Shoup (DDG 86), homeported at Naval Station Everett, WA. His third command was the Command Master Chief for Navy Recruiting District Seattle.

He is currently the Command Master Chief aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68).

He is a graduate of the Naval Senior Enlisted Academy, class 147 (Gold Group) and the Command Master Chief/Chief of the Boat class 10701. His personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (five awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (five awards), Good Conduct Medal (eight awards) and various unit awards.

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