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#MemorialDay Series Day 6: LCDR Robert 'Trey' Clukey III

memorial day May 28, 2022
Robert 'Trey' Clukey III

This year marks 10 years since Trident CEO Jeff Everage received the news of the death of roommate, shipmate, and loyal friend LCDR Robert ‘Trey’ Clukey III during a training accident. This final piece to our #MemorialDay series highlights the joy, friendship, and inherent danger of the military but honors the memory of ‘Trey’ and his best friend.

Clukey died in November 2002 when his F/A-18 Hornet crashed in the Adriatic Sea during a training mission at 33 years old. 

A 1991 graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy, Clukey and Everage met during Plebe Summer (summer before the official school year starts). “He was one of my best friends ever since,” said Everage. A member of the 30th Company and the offshore sailing team, he graduated from the Academy with a B.S. in Oceanography. He attended flight training in Florida and Texas and received his “wings” in September 1994. With the call sign, “Plubr”, he went on to serve tours in California, Nevada, and Virginia. During his tours he deployed from USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70), USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), and USS George Washington (CVN 73). During his Persian Gulf deployment he flew 38 combat missions and was awarded the Strike/Flight Air Medal.  

While on deployment embarked aboard USS George Washington, he completed 20 combat missions over Southern Iraq and Afghanistan receiving his second Strike/Flight Air Medal. He had aspirations of joining the Navy’s elite flight demonstration team, the Blue Angels. On November 3, 2002, however, Clukey’s jet crashed into the Adriatic Sea.

It’s not Clukey’s awards or flying prowess that Everage remembers, it’s the hijinks of close friends. It was “typical USNA antics like jumping off the wall,” said Everage. “We broke every [regulation] but one (and who knows maybe by now you’ve broken that one too. Even though you were UNSAT once, it’s OK … remember the beaches of Coronado really can be fun, and I still owe you that chicken run.

“Trey was as loyal a friend as they come. He was always there for me,” said Everage. LCDR Clukey, gone but never forgotten. 

Clukey’s strength of character is one of the things the Travis Manion Foundation honored during it’s Character Does Matter program, presented during the Naval Academy’s Summer Seminar, and STEM Camp for rising 11th graders. To learn more about the Travis Manion Foundation visit here. TMF works to unite and strengthen communities through training, development, and by highlighting the role models that lead them. They develop programs, training opportunities, and events to empower veterans and families of the fallen, then inspire them to pass on their values to the next generation and the community at large. Learn more here.

Robert 'Trey' Clukey III