Carl Clearwater was born on November 10, 1964, in New York. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on July 6, 1982, and completed basic training at NTC San Diego, California, in September 1982. Clearwater next attended Sonar Technician A School at Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Training Center, Pacific, NTC San Diego, from September to December 1982, followed by service aboard the guided missile destroyer USS Joseph Strauss (DDG-16) from January to October 1983. Petty Officer Clearwater then served at Shore Intermediate Maintenance Activity Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, from November 1983 until his honorable discharge from the Navy on January 14, 1986. He reenlisted in the U.S. Navy on February 16, 1989, and attended Naval Veterans (NAVET) Training at NTC Orlando, Florida, from February to April 1989. Petty Officer Clearwater then attended Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, California, from April 1989 to March 1990, followed by Basic Airborne training at Fort Benning, Georgia, from March to May 1990. His next assignment was with SEAL Team EIGHT at NAB Little Creek, Virginia, from May 1990 to June 1994, and then with Naval Special Warfare Development Group at Dam Neck, Virginia, from June 1994 until he was killed in a parachute accident on September 19, 1998. Carl Clearwater was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
His Joint Service Achievement Medal Citation reads:
Sonar Technician First Class Carl J. Clearwater, United States Navy, distinguished himself by exceptionally meritorious achievement while serving as a Mobile Security Detachment member attached to an American Embassy from 24 October 1996 to 3 February 1997. During this high risk deployment, Petty Officer Clearwater provided flawless security to the U.S. Ambassador, and key embassy personnel. Routinely placing himself in life threatening situations, he developed and executed detailed personnel security plans to avert tragedy and ensure the safety of key U.S. government officials during an extremely dangerous and unstable period. His superb leadership, tactical advice and sound judgment in dynamic situations were instrumental to the successful completion of all assigned missions. Through his distinctive accomplishments, Petty Officer Clearwater reflected credit upon himself, the United States Navy, and the Department of Defense.