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First Name: Clark

Last Name: Ruffner

Birthplace: Buffalo, NY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Louis

Date of Birth: 12 January 1903

Date of Death: 26 July 1962

Rank: General

Years Served: 1924-1962
Clark Louis Ruffner

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


Clark Louis Ruffner
General, U.S. Army

Clark Louis Ruffner was born in 12 January 1903 in Buffalo, NY. He graduated from the Virginia Military Institute in 1924. Most of his early career was spent in various cavalry units until his appointment as Assistant Professor of Military Science and Tactics at Norwich University in Vermont from 1937-1940.

World War II

During World War II, Ruffner first served as Assistant Chief of Staff and then Deputy Chief of Staff for VII Corps from 1942-43. He then went on to become Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for the Hawaiian Department in 1943. From there, Ruffner became Deputy Chief of Staff, Central Pacific Area, from 1943-44, and Chief of Staff for the U.S. Army, Pacific from 1944 until after the end of the war.

Korean War

At the outbreak of the Korean War, Ruffner was Chief of Staff, X Corps, but soon took command of the 2nd Infantry Division in 1951, where he was a key commander in the conflict. Ruffner's unit occupied the center of the UN line during the Battle of the Soyang River during the Chinese spring offensive. After his command, Ruffner spent the remainder of the war in Washington working on International Security Affairs in the office of the Secretary of Defense.

In 1954, Ruffner moved back into the Pacific Theater where he successively served as Deputy Commanding General, and then Commanding General, of U.S. Army, Pacific. From there he became Commanding General, 2nd Armored Division, from 1954-56, and after a tour in Germany, Commanding General of the Third United States Army from 1958-60.

During this period, he received promotions to Lieutenant General and then to General. General Ruffner concluded his career as U.S. Representative to NATO, and retired in 1962.

Medals and Awards

Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Service Medal with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Silver Star Medal
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal
Air Medal with Award Numeral 3
Army Commendation Medal
American Defense Service Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with 3 Bronze Stars & Arrowhead Device
World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Korean Service Medal with 4 Bronze Stars
United Nations Service Medal for Korea
Republic of Korea War Service Medal
Presidential Unit Citation
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation

Distinguished Service Cross Citation

The President of the United States of America, under the provisions of the Act of Congress approved July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Major General Clark Louis Ruffner (ASN: 0-15968), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving as Commanding General of the 2d Infantry Division. Major General Ruffner distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism in action against enemy aggressor forces in the vicinity of Hangyi and Umyang-ni, Korea, during the period from 16 through 24 May 1951. On 16 May 1951, after an ominous build-up of strength, the Chinese Communist forces launched a massive offensive against the Second Infantry Division and two Republic of Korea divisions of the United States X Corps with a force of an estimated 96,000 troops. Although the attack was expected and enormous casualties were inflicted on the enemy, the situation became critical on 18 May 1951, when the Republic of Korea forces, overrun by a numerically preponderant enemy force, collapsed and exposed the right flank of the Second Infantry Division. At this juncture, General Ruffner personally visited the most forward positions to rally his troops and reorganize the defense on a new line. Through his coolness, efficiency and indifference to danger, he assisted in extricating several units which had been cut off, narrowly escaping death on one occasion when the helicopter in which he was riding crashed on a mountain peak within sight of the enemy. On 20 and 21 May 1951, General Ruffner moved his division in a difficult lateral maneuver across the battlefront, then personally led a counterattack against the enemy. As a result of this brilliantly executed counterattack, the hostile forces were routed after suffering losses thirty times as great as those sustained by the Second Division. On 24 May 1951, General Ruffner organized and led a special task force to seize and secure a bridgehead across the Soyang River and sever enemy escape routes to the north. When the troops were stopped by enemy mortar fire, General Ruffner drove his jeep near the head of the tank-infantry column over a road that had not been swept for mines and through the areas of the hostile mortar fire. This fearless action so inspired the officers and men of the task force that they mounted their vehicles and immediately resumed the advance. By his brave and daring leadership the objective was secured in minimum time, thus putting a force twelve miles deep into the territory held by the enemy force and severing two of its main avenues of escape to the north.

General Orders: Headquarters, Eighth U.S. Army, Korea: General Orders No. 416 (June 9, 1951)

Death and Burial

General Clark Louis Ruffner died on 26 July 1962. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA.

Honoree ID: 317   Created by: MHOH




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