Vice Adm. Sara “Clutch” Joyner is a native of Hoopers Island, Maryland. In 1989 she graduated with merit from the United States Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science in Oceanography. After successfully completing flight training Joyner earned her “wings of gold” and was designated a Naval Aviator in 1991.
Operationally, she has served in numerous fighter squadrons flying the F-18 C/E/F Hornet, including the Argonauts of VFA-147 and commanded the Gunslingers of VFA-105. Additional operational commanding tours include Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 3, and Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 2. She has made multiple extended deployments aboard the USS NIMITZ (CVN-68), USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN-74) and USS HARRY S. TRUMAN (CVN-75) in support of Operations Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
Ashore, Joyner’s assignments include duties as an adversary pilot flying the A-4E Skyhawk for the Checkertails of VC-5 and the Redtails of VC-8, U.S. Joint Forces Command Current Operations Branch Force deployment officer, the Chief of Naval Operation’s Strategic Studies Group Joint Strike Fighter requirements officer, and as director, Navy Office of Legislative Affairs Senate Liaison Division.
Her flag assignments include the Physiological Episode Action Team (PEAT) lead, director for Manpower and Personnel (J1) on the Joint Staff; commander, Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 2 and most recently served as Navy Chief of Legislative Affairs, serving the 116th and 117th Congress of the United States.
Joyner currently serves as Director, Force Structure, Resources and Assessment, J8, Joint Staff. She is entitled to wear the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, as well as several other personal unit and campaign awards. She has accumulated over 3,700 flight hours and 750 arrested landings in Naval Aircraft.