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First Name: Mark

Last Name: Clark

Birthplace: Sackets Harbor, NY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Middle Name: Wayne

Date of Birth: 01 May 1896

Date of Death: 17 April 1984

Rank: General

Years Served: 1917 - 1953
Mark Wayne Clark

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1917

•  World War I (1914 - 1918)
•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)


Mark Wayne Clark

General, U.S. Army

Early Life

Mark Wayne Clark was born on 1 May 1896 in Madison Barracks, Sackets Harbor, NY. However, he spent much of his youth in Illinois where his father, a career Army Infantry officer, was assigned at Fort Sheridan. His mother was the daughter of Romanian Jews but Clark was baptized Episcopalian while he was attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Military Career

Clark's USMA classmates awarded him the nickname "Contraband" because of his ability to smuggle sweets into the barracks. He graduated from West Point in April 1917 with a class ranking of 110th in a class of 139, and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Infantry. He had gained an early appointment to the Academy at age 17, but lost time due to frequent illnesses.

World War I

He rose rapidly in rank in the rapid expansion of the U.S. Army during World War I. In 1917, he was promoted to First Lieutenant on 15 May and to Captain on 5 August. He served in France in the U.S. 11th Infantry, part of the 5th Infantry Division, and was wounded in action in the Vosges Mountains. As a result of his convalescence, Captain Clark was transferred to the General Staff Headquarters of the First Army until the end of hostilities, then served with the Third Army in its occupation duties in Germany.

Inter-War Years

Between the wars, Clark served in a variety of staff and training roles. From 1921 to 1924 he served as an aide in the office of the Assistant Secretary of War. In 1925 he completed the Professional Officer's Course at the Infantry School in Fort Benning, GA, then served as a staff officer with the 30th Infantry at The Presidio in San Francisco, CA. His next assignment was as a Training Instructor to the Indiana National Guard, during which he was promoted to Major on 14 January 1933; more than 15 years after his promotion to Captain.

Major Clark served as a Deputy Commander of the Civilian Conservation Corps district in Omaha, NE, in 1935-36, between tours at the Command and General Staff School in 1935 and the Army War College in 1937. Assigned to Fort Lewis, WA, Clark was selected to instruct at the Army War College in March 1940, where he received a promotion to Lieutenant Colonel on 1 July. Clark and General Leslie McNair selected the thousands of acres of unused land in Louisiana for military maneuvers at Louisiana Maneuvers.

On 4 August 1941, Clark was advanced two grades, to Brigadier General, as the Army geared up for entry in World War II. He was made Assistant Chief of Staff (G-3) at General Headquarters, U.S. Army, in Washington, DC.

World War II

In January 1942, a month after the U.S. entry into the war, General Clark was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff Army Ground Forces and, in May 1942, became its Chief of Staff as staff officers rapidly moved to newly created commands by General Gage Michael Miller.

In June 1942, he went to England as Commanding General of II Corps, and the next month moved up to Commanding General, Army Forces European Theater of Operations, where he was promoted to Major General on 17 August 1942. Clark became Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Forces in the North African Theater in October 1942. Clark's duties in this succession of assignments was to plan and direct the training of units for the invasion of North Africa, known as Operation Torch. Part of the preparation for the invasion involved spiriting him into North Africa by submarine weeks before the invasion to negotiate the surrender or cooperation of the Vichy French at Cherchell on 21-22 October 1942.

After the negotiations, Clark was promoted to Lieutenant General on 11 November 1942. When the U.S. created its first field army overseas, Fifth Army, Clark was made its Commanding General and given the task of training units for the invasion of Italy (Operation Avalanche) in September 1943. According to Montgomery, Clark was subsequently criticized by British historians and critics for the near-failure of the landings at Salerno, as a result of perceived poor planning.

Clark gave orders for the bombing destruction of the Abbey of Monte Cassino based on direct orders from his superior during the Battle of Monte Cassino on 15 February 1944.

In fact, Clark and his Chief of Staff, Major-General Alfred Gruenther, remained unconvinced of the "military necessity." When handing over the U.S. II Corps position to the New Zealand Corps, Brigadier Butler, Deputy Commander of U.S. 34th Division, had said "I don't know, but I don't believe the enemy is in the convent. All the fire has been from the slopes of the hill below the wall." Clark pinned down the Commander-in-Chief Allied Armies in Italy, General Sir Harold Alexander: "You give me a direct order and we'll do it." He did.

Clark's conduct of operations remains controversial, particularly his actions during the Battle of the Winter Line. Here, ignoring orders from his Army Group Commander, the British General Sir Harold Alexander, Clark sent the U.S. VI Corps towards Rome and captured it on 4 June 1944. As a result, he failed to exploit the gap in the German positions that had opened up following the capture of Monte Cassino, allowing a substantial number of German units to escape and reinforce what became the Gothic Line.

Nonetheless, Pope Pius XII thanked Clark for liberating Rome. In December 1944, Clark took Alexander's position as overall commander of Allied ground troops in Italy, renamed as 15th Army Group. Alexander, now a Field Marshal, had become Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces Headquarters in the Mediterranean which was, by that time, an international coalition of numerous diverse cultures with often conflicting interests.

Clark was promoted to General on 10 March 1945 and, at the war's end, Clark was Commander of Allied Forces in Italy and, later, the U.S. High Commissioner of Austria.

Post-World War II

He served as Deputy to the U.S. Secretary of State in 1947, and attended the negotiations for an Austrian treaty with the Council of Foreign Ministers in London and Moscow. In June 1947, Clark returned home and assumed command of the Sixth Army, headquartered at the Presidio in San Francisco. Two years later he was named Chief of Army Field Forces.

On 20 October 1951, he was nominated by President Harry Truman to be the U.S. Emissary to the Holy See. Clark withdrew his nomination on 13 January 1952, following protests from Texas Senator Tom Connally and Protestant groups.

Korean War

During the Korean War, Clark took over as Commander of the United Nations Command on 12 May 1952, succeeding General Matthew Ridgway.

Operation Moolah was a U.S. Air Force (USAF) effort during the Korean War to capture a fully mission-capable Soviet MiG-15. The origin of Operation Moolah was from a war correspondent who was not identified in Clark's book, From the Danube to the Yalu. The war correspondent developed the idea off the metaphor "silver bullet" and its effect on the Chinese in early 1952. He then developed and wrote a fictitious interview between an "anonymous" and a nonexistent Air Force general suggesting the MiG reward. The Far East Air Force (FEAF), headquartered in Tokyo, was given the fictitious interview and thought the idea was worth looking into and passed it onward to the Department of the Air Force in Washington, DC. The idea circulated through the Pentagon and the Department of State, until it was transmitted back to Clark from the Department of the Army through a message he received in November 1952. General Clark received reports of the poor quality of Communist pilots after the leaflet drops of Operation Moolah, the worst piloting by the Communists of the war. Communist pilots flew fewer sorties 90 days after Operation Moolah, than the 90 days before the first leaflet drop. U.N. pilots shot down 155 MiG-15's to three friendly combat losses, a ratio of 55:1 after the first leaflet drop.

The Retirement Years

After retiring from the Army in 1953, Clark served (1954 to 1966) as President of The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, in Charleston, SC. He wrote two volumes of memoirs: Calculated Risk (1950) and From the Danube to the Yalu (1954).

Medals and Awards

Distinguished Service Cross
Army Distinguished Service Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart
World War I Victory Medal
Occupation of Germany World War I Medal
American Defense Medal
American Theater Campaign Medal
European, African, Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Korean Service Medal
United Nations Service Medal

Medals and Awards (Not Usually Worn)

Order of the Crown, Grand Officer, Belgium
Order of the Southern Cross, Grand Officer, Brazil
Order of the White Lion, First Class, Czechoslovakia
Légion d'honneur, Grand Cross, France
Military Order of Savoy, Grand Cross, Italy
Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, Grand Cross, Italy
Silver Medal of Military Valor, Italy
Order Virtuti Militari, Fifth Class, Poland
Order of Ouissam Alaouite, First Class, Morocco
Order of the British Empire, Knight, United Kingdom
Order of Suvorov, First Class, USSR

Distinguished Service Cross Citation (Synopsis)

Lieutenant General Mark Wayne Clark (ASN: 0-5309), United States Army, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while Commanding the 5th Army, in action against enemy forces on 14 September 1943. Lieutenant General Clark's intrepid actions, personal bravery and zealous devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 5th Army, and the United States Army.

General Orders: Headquarters, U.S. Army-North African Theater of Operations, General Orders No. 6 (1944) Action Date: 14-Sep-43


• An interstate spur (I-526) in the suburbs of Charleston, SC, bears his name.

• Prior to 17 August 2010, the Mark Clark Bridge in Washington State connected Camano Island with the mainland. It was then superseded by the Camano Gateway Bridge; the Mark Clark Bridge was demolished the following month.

Death and Burial

General Mark Wayne Clark died on 17 April 1984. He is buried at The Citadel in Charleston, Charleston County, SC, on The Citadel campus, near Mark Clark Hall and the Carillon Tower.

Final Remarks

During World War I, Clark led a company of soldiers in 1917 and was seriously wounded by shrapnel. After the war, Clark's abilities were noticed by General George Marshall. Clark's rapid rise through the general officer ranks, after a 24-year career as a relatively obscure officer, has been attributed by a U.S. Army biography in part to his professional relationship to General George Marshall and his friendship with Dwight Eisenhower. It is true that both Winston Churchill and General Dwight D. Eisenhower considered him a brilliant staff officer and trainer.

Mark Wayne Clark was the youngest Lieutenant General in the U.S. Army; he also became the youngest American to be promoted to General in 1945.

He had a distinguished career in World War II; his best-known campaign was Operation Torch (the invasion of French North Africa) and the campaign in Italy.

Clark was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the U.S. Army's second highest award for valor; it is subordinate only to the Medal of Honor.

General, we thank you for your outstanding service in defending our country and preserving its freedoms. May you rest in peace knowing that you truly embodied the ideals of "Duty, Honor, Country."

Honoree ID: 52   Created by: MHOH




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