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25th Anniversary of the USS Stark Attack

Through the storm we reach the shore
You give it all but I want more
And I’m waiting for you
With or without you…
From U2, 1987

Mark Wasnock USS Shark Attack

37 Sailors Died at Sea

On May 17, 1987, 37 U.S. Sailors died when their ship was attacked by the Iraqis. Another and 21 were injured. The Persian Gulf tragedy, known as the Stark Attack, was an unprovoked attack on the USS Stark (FFG-31). Most of those who died were Gen Xers, born in 1961 or later.

USS Shark Attack

The 25th anniversary of the attack is May 17, 2012. Survivors, families and friends will gather at a memorial service at Mayport Naval Station (Florida) to remember that terrible day and honor the memory of those who were loved and lost. Among them will be Mark Wasnock, SCPO USN (Ret), who is a USS Stark survivor. He’s written extensively about the event on his blog.

Newsweek Cover of the USS Stark Attack

A Sailor Remembers the Stark Attack

“From my own personal STARK experience and I can only assume its the same for others in my “Stark-Family-Circle”, The USS STARK incident is a gamut of mixed emotions that throws me on a roller coaster ride of fear, hate, anger, guilt, pride, love, devotion, remorse, insensitivity, honor, sadness and the list goes on and on… To say the least, its a never ending struggle that takes jabs at my self-worth, pounds-away at my heart and pierces into the depths of my soul. If I didn’t force laughter into my life, I don’t know where these feelings would take me.”

Wasnock, along with some of his fellow shipmates, is trying to spearhead a memorial for the sailors who died aboard the USS Stark. You don’t have to spend much time reading his blog to realize what a defining moment this was in his young life. He was just 19-years-old at the time.

I’m reminded of that famous Gen X quote from Fight Club, which I’ve referenced many times on this blog. Our Generation has had no Great war, no Great Depression. Our war is spiritual. Our depression is our lives.” This does not apply to the Gen Xers who served on the USS Stark. They experienced the tragedy of war that day.

For another Generation X perspective on the USS Stark read Dante Monte’s essay, Crossing The Gulf Into Adulthood.

Read 25 Years Ago by a man who was on the ship and knew some of the men who died.

Here are the names of the 37 sailors who died, 21 of whom were Gen-Xers.

Doran Bolduc, seaman, 29
Bradley Brown, bosun’s mate, 28
Jeffrey Calkins, fire controlman, 20
Mark Caouette, seaman, 26
John Ciletta, seaman, 21
Bryan Clinfelter, seaman recruit, 19
Antonio Daniels, operations specialist, 21
Christopher DeAngelis, electronics technician, 23
James Dunlap, communications specialist, 20
Steven Erwin, sonar technician, 22
Jerry Farr, radioman, 36
Vernon Foster, senior chief petty officer, 33
Dexter Grissette, radioman-seaman’s apprentice, 19
William Hansen, fire control technician, 22
Daniel Homicki, gunner’s mate, 36
Kenneth Janusik, operations specialist, 19
Steven Kendall, operations specialist, 30
Stephen Kiser, electronics mate, 36
Ronnie Lockett, signalman, 30
Thomas MacMullen, gunner’s mate, 30
Charles Moller, electronic warfare specialist, 27
Jeffrey Phelps, seaman recruit, 21
Randy Pierce, data systems technician, 28
James Plonsky, gunner’s mate, 22
Kelly Quick, electronics technician, 20
Earl Ryals, signalman, 25
Robert Shippee, fire control technician, 35
Jeffrey Sibley, signalman-seaman’s apprentice, 21
Lee Stephens, operations specialist, 23
James Stevens, torpedoman, 27
Martin Supple, electronics technician, 27
Gregory Tweady, fire control technician, 36
Vincent Ulmer, seaman, 21
Joseph Watson, electronic warfare specialist, 25
Wayne Weaver, electronics technician, 22
Terrance Weldon, operations specialist, 20
Lloyd Wilson, fireman apprentice, 24


“Our love is for a fallen countryman, so that we, a free people, might live.”
— President Ronald Reagan, May 22, 1987, following the attack on the USS Stark.

Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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  1. Don

    Jennifer, I am a 100% permanently disabled vet. I had a buddy injured on the Stark. I am trying to help him. I keep finding lists of names of those who died on the Stark but I can’t seem to find a list of the injured sailors that survived, and maybe some of their stories. Can you point me to a resource to find s list of the injured survivors? Thank you very much

    • Jennifer

      Hi Don – Peace be with you. Thank you for all you’ve done for our country. I think there are some Stark survivors in the Cold War Veterans Facebook group. There are nearly 14,000 members in the group and it’s very active. I would publish a post there. If you’re not on FB I’ve been granted membership in the group based on my interest in Cold War veterans/Gen-Xers who served in various wars. I am happy to post a question to the group. I would just need his name. The link is: Also, Mark Wasnock may keep up with the survivors. He is also on Facebook: He has a blog in memoriam to the Stark attack. That URL is Good luck and let me know if I can be of further assistance. I hope you find your buddy. Thanks for stopping by, Don.

  2. mark cook

    I was an RP assigned to COMDESRON 8 along with Chaplain Kelley RP2 Fogerty RP2 Hudson My name is RP3 Cook. It seems like yesterday like time has stood still and here we all stay as the rest of the world continues to move forward. WE camped out with the families in the multi=purpose building as the news trickled in slowly confirming the worst fears. I will never forget the agonizing screams of hopeless despair and the wrenching reality that none of us would ever be the same again I can her them right now God bless the United Navy

    • Jennifer

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving this note. I wasn’t there to hear the screams, but I carry that sorrow in my heart. I’m so sorry for it all. Those lives that were just so needlessly snuffed out. Yes, God bless the United States Navy. My father was a sailor. And, God bless you and all those you love.

  3. Bry

    I wish the best to all my buds my pictures are along side the stark pulling up body parts to identify ID of sailors ,I am wearing winter / cold weather gear to cover up my tattoos I was told to do so .it was 103deg, out and I am living with those moments/memories too this day. I wish all of you’s the Best .it’s hard to deal with.I love you all, all god bless

    • Jennifer

      Thank you for sharing, Bry. My very best to you, and sending much love, also. I’m sorry you went through that.

  4. stflyfisher

    Jennifer, thanks very much for your nice words on my blog and for sharing my blog post on the Stark with your readers. I was a plankowner on the Stark – a term used for the original crew who put the ship through sea trials and commissioned her. I was the weapons officer for most of my service aboard her. I left the Navy in 1986, but knew some of the men who died in this attack. Some of them were young, some older with families. I am proud to have served on Stark and to have known the brave men who made the ultimate sacrifice. My only solace today is that they live on as long as they are remembered. R. Bruns

    • Regina

      My name is Regina. I am trying to locate a girl that is possibly my sister. She would have been 9 months old in May 1987. Do you by chance know if any of the men that did not make it home that day adopted a little girl in Italy in 1986 named Cassandra.

      • Jennifer

        I have no idea, Regina. I do hope you find your sister. Blessings on the journey…

  5. granbee

    Jen, I am so glad you had the sensitivty and forethought to honor those fallen on our behalf on the USS Stark 25 years ago. The remarks by Mark Wasnock are so poignant in how well they honor his fallen comrades.


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