Mark W. Clark

Last updated
Mark W. Clark
Mark Wayne Clark 1943.jpg
Nickname(s)"Wayne", "Contraband" (while at West Point) [1]
Born(1896-05-01)May 1, 1896
Madison Barracks, Sackets Harbor, New York, U.S.
DiedApril 17, 1984(1984-04-17) (aged 87)
Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.
The Citadel, Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.
AllegianceFlag of the United States (1912-1959).svg  United States of America
Service/branch Seal of the United States Department of War.png United States Army
Years of service1917–1953
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg General
Unit USA - Army Infantry Insignia.png Infantry Branch
Commands held3rd Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment
II Corps
Fifth Army
Seventh Army
15th Army Group
Sixth Army
United Nations Command (Korea)
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
Korean War
Awards Distinguished Service Cross
Army Distinguished Service Medal
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Spouse(s)Maurine Doran (m. 1924–1966; her death; 2 children)
Other work The Citadel, President

Mark Wayne Clark (May 1, 1896 – April 17, 1984) was a United States Army officer who saw service during World War I, World War II, and the Korean War. He was the youngest four-star general in the United States Army during World War II.

United States Army Land warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.

Officer (armed forces) member of an armed force or uniformed service who holds a position of authority

An officer is a member of an armed forces or uniformed service who holds a position of authority.

World War I 1914–1918 global war starting in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as "the war to end all wars", it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the resulting 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.


During World War I, he was a company commander and served in France in 1918, as a 22-year-old captain, where he was seriously wounded by shrapnel. After the war, the future U.S. Army Chief of Staff, General George Marshall, noticed Clark's abilities. [2] During World War II, he commanded the United States Fifth Army, and later the 15th Army Group, in the Italian campaign. He is known for leading the Fifth Army in its capture of Rome in June 1944.

A company commander is the commanding officer of a company; a military unit which typically consists of 100 to 250 soldiers, often organized into three or four smaller units called platoons. The exact organization of a company varies by country, service, and unit type. Aviation companies can have as few as 40 personnel, while some specialized companies such as maintenance or training units are considerably larger and may number as many as 500 personnel. In some forces, the second-in-command of a company is called the executive officer (XO).

Western Front (World War I) Main theatre of war during the First World War

The Western Front was the main theatre of war during the First World War. Following the outbreak of war in August 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. The tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne. Following the Race to the Sea, both sides dug in along a meandering line of fortified trenches, stretching from the North Sea to the Swiss frontier with France, which changed little except during early 1917 and in 1918.

In the United States uniformed services, captain is a commissioned-officer rank. In keeping with the traditions of the militaries of most nations, the rank varies between the services, being a senior rank in the naval services and a junior rank in the ground and air forces.

Clark has been heavily criticized for ignoring the orders of his superior officer, British General Sir Harold R. L. G. Alexander, and allowing the German 10th Army to slip away, in his drive to take Rome, the capital of Italy, a strategically unimportant city. The German 10th Army then joined with the rest of the German army group at the Trasimene Line. [3] In March 1945, Clark, at the age of 48, became the youngest American officer ever to be promoted to the rank of four star general.

General is the highest rank currently achievable by serving officers of the British Army. The rank can also be held by Royal Marines officers in tri-service posts, for example, General Sir Gordon Messenger the Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff. It ranks above lieutenant-general and, in the Army, is subordinate to the rank of field marshal, which is now only awarded as an honorary rank. The rank of general has a NATO-code of OF-9, and is a four-star rank. It is equivalent to a full admiral in the Royal Navy or an air chief marshal in the Royal Air Force.

Harold Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis British military commander and field marshal; Governor General of Canada

Field Marshal Harold Rupert Leofric George Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis,, was a senior British Army officer who served with distinction in both the First World War and the Second World War and, afterwards, as Governor General of Canada, the 17th since Canadian Confederation.

10th Army (Wehrmacht) German field army during World War II

The 10th Army was a World War II field army of Wehrmacht (Germany).

General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower, a close friend of Clark's, considered him a brilliant staff officer and trainer of men. [4] Clark was awarded many medals, including the Distinguished Service Cross, the U.S. Army's second highest award. A legacy of the "Clark task force" that he led in 1953–1955, which reviewed and made recommendations on all federal intelligence activities, is the term Intelligence Community. [5]

General of the Army (United States) Second highest possible rank in the United States Army

General of the Army is a five-star general officer and the second highest possible rank in the United States Army. A General of the Army ranks immediately above a general and is equivalent to a Fleet Admiral and a General of the Air Force. There is no established equivalent five-star rank in the other federal uniformed services. Often called a "five-star general", the rank of General of the Army has historically been reserved for wartime use and is not currently active in the U.S. military. The General of the Army insignia consisted of five 3/8th inch stars in a pentagonal pattern, with points touching. The insignia was paired with the gold and enameled United States Coat of Arms on service coat shoulder loops. The silver colored five-star metal insignia alone would be worn for use as a collar insignia of grade and on the garrison cap. Soft shoulder epaulettes with five 7/16th inch stars in silver thread and gold-threaded United States Coat of Arms on green cloth were worn with shirts and sweaters.

Dwight D. Eisenhower 34th president of the United States

Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was an American army general and statesman who served as the 34th president of the United States from 1953 to 1961. During World War II, he was a five-star general in the Army and served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe. He was responsible for planning and supervising the invasion of North Africa in Operation Torch in 1942–43 and the successful Invasion of Normandy in 1944–45 from the Western Front.

A military staff is a group of officers, enlisted and civilian personnel that are responsible for the administrative, operational and logistical needs of its unit. It provides bi-directional flow of information between a commanding officer and subordinate military units. A staff also provides an executive function where it filters information needed by the commander or shunts unnecessary information.


Early life and military career

Clark was born in Madison Barracks, Sackets Harbor, New York, but spent much of his youth in Downers Grove, Illinois, while his father, Charles Carr Clark, a career infantry officer in the United States Army, was stationed at Fort Sheridan. [6] His mother, Rebecca "Beckie" Ezekkiels, was the daughter of Romanian Jews; Mark Clark was baptized Episcopalian while a cadet at the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, New York. [1] [7]

New York (state) American state

New York is a state in the Northeastern United States. New York was one of the original thirteen colonies that formed the United States. With an estimated 19.54 million residents in 2018, it is the fourth most populous state. In order to distinguish the state from the city with the same name, it is sometimes referred to as New York State.

Downers Grove, Illinois Village in Illinois, United States

Downers Grove is a village in DuPage County, Illinois, United States. It was founded in 1832 by Pierce Downer, whose surname serves as the eponym for the village. It is a southwestern suburb of Chicago in the I-55 Corridor.

Infantry military service branch that specializes in combat by individuals on foot

Infantry is a military specialization that engages in military combat on foot, distinguished from cavalry, artillery, and tank forces. Also known as foot soldiers or infanteers, infantry traditionally relies on moving by foot between combats as well, but may also use mounts, military vehicles, or other transport. Infantry make up a large portion of all armed forces in most nations, and typically bear the largest brunt in warfare, as measured by casualties, deprivation, or physical and psychological stress.

Clark gained an early appointment to the USMA in June 1913 at the age of 17, but lost time from frequent illnesses. [8] Known as "Contraband" by his classmates, because of his ability to smuggle sweets into the barracks, [1] while at West Point, he met and befriended Dwight D. Eisenhower, who lived in the same barracks division and was his company cadet sergeant. Although Eisenhower was two years senior to him, having graduated as part of the West Point class of 1915, the two formed a friendship. Clark graduated from West Point on April 20, 1917, exactly two weeks after the American entry into World War I, and six weeks before schedule, with a class ranking of 110 in a class of 139, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. [8] He graduated alongside young men such as Matthew Ridgway, J. Lawton Collins, (both of whom later became U.S. Army Chief of Staff) Ernest N. Harmon, William W. Eagles, Norman Cota, Laurence B. Keiser, Frederick A. Irving, William C. McMahon, Bryant Moore and William K. Harrison. [9]

The class the stars fell on United States Military Academy Class of 1915

The class the stars fell on is an expression used to describe the Class of 1915 at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. In the United States Army, the insignia reserved for generals is one or more stars. Of the 164 graduates that year, 59 (36%) attained the rank of general, more than any other class in the history of the Academy, hence the expression. Two reached the rank of five-star General of the Army. There were also two four-star generals, seven three-star lieutenant generals, 24 two-star major generals, and 24 one-star brigadier generals. Dwight D. Eisenhower, one of the five-star generals, went on to become the 34th President of the United States. The other, Omar Bradley, became Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Presidents Harry S. Truman and Eisenhower.

American entry into World War I The entry of the United States into World War I

The American entry into World War I came in April 1917, after more than two and a half years of efforts by President Woodrow Wilson to keep the United States out of the war.

Matthew Ridgway United States Army general

General Matthew Bunker Ridgway was a senior officer in the United States Army, who served as Supreme Allied Commander Europe (1952–1953) and the 19th Chief of Staff of the United States Army (1953–1955). He fought with distinction during World War II, where he was the Commanding General of the 82nd Airborne Division, leading it in action in Sicily, Italy and Normandy, before taking command of the newly formed XVIII Airborne Corps in August 1944. He held the latter post until the end of the war, commanding the corps in the Battle of the Bulge, Operation Varsity and the Western Allied invasion of Germany.

Like his father, he decided to join the Infantry Branch. He was assigned to the 11th Infantry Regiment, which later became part of the 5th Division, where he became a company commander in Company 'K' of the 3rd Battalion, 11th Infantry, with First Lieutenant John W. O'Daniel serving as a platoon commander in his company. [9] In the rapid expansion of the U.S. Army during World War I, he rose quickly in rank, promoted to first lieutenant on May 15 and captain on August 5, 1917. [10]

In late April 1918, shortly before Clark's 22nd birthday and over a year since his graduation from West Point, he arrived on the Western Front, to join the American Expeditionary Force (AEF). [11] Arriving with his company at the French port of Brest on 1 May, his 22nd birthday, the next few weeks were spent in training in trench warfare under the tutelage of the French Army and soon afterwards the division was inspected by General John J. Pershing, the Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) of the AEF on the Western Front. [11] Serving in the Vosges mountains, the Commanding Officer (CO) of the regiment's 3rd Battalion, Major R. E. Kingman, fell ill and Clark was promoted to acting battalion commander on June 12, 1918, with O'Daniel taking over command of Clark's company. [11] Two days later, when Clark's division was relieving a French division in the trenches, he was wounded by German artillery in the right shoulder and upper back, knocking him unconscious; the soldier standing next to him, Private Joseph Kanieski, was killed. They were two of the first casualties suffered by the 5th Division during the war. [12]

Despite his injuries, however, Captain Clark managed to recover within six weeks, although he was graded unfit to return to the infantry. [12] As a result of his convalescence, he was transferred to the Supply Section of the First Army. In this position he served with Colonel John L. DeWitt, and supervised the daily provision of food for the men of the First Army, which earned Clark recognition at the higher levels of command. [13] He stayed in this post until the end of hostilities on November 11, 1918. He then served with the Third Army in its occupation duties in Germany and returned to the United States in June 1919, just over a year after being sent overseas. [13]

Between the wars

During the period between the world 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 U.S. Army Infantry School, and then served as a staff officer with the 30th Infantry Regiment at The Presidio in San Francisco, California. His next assignment was as a training instructor to the Indiana Army National Guard, [10] in which he was promoted to major on January 14, 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, Nebraska, in 1935–1936, between tours at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff School in 1935 and the U.S. Army War College in 1937. Among his classmates there were Matthew Ridgway, Walter Bedell Smith and Geoffrey Keyes, all of whom he would serve with during World War II.

Assigned to Fort Lewis, Washington, Clark was selected by General George Marshall, the newly promoted Army Chief of Staff, to instruct at the U.S. Army War College in March 1940, where he received a promotion to lieutenant colonel on July 1. Clark and Brigadier General Lesley J. McNair, later the commander of Army Ground Forces, selected the thousands of acres of unused land in Louisiana for military maneuvers in the Louisiana Maneuvers. [14] On August 4, 1941, Clark, skipping the rank of colonel, was promoted two grades to brigadier general as the U.S. Army geared up for entry in World War II, and made Assistant Chief of Staff (G-3) at General Headquarters, United States Army, in Washington, D.C. [10]

World War II

In January 1942, a month after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and subsequent American entry into World War II, Clark was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff of Army Ground Forces, commanded by Lieutenant General Lesley J. McNair, and in May 1942, became its Chief of Staff as staff officers were rapidly moved to newly created commands by General Gage Michael Miller. [10]

In April 17, 1942 Clark was promoted to the two-star rank of major general. Just two weeks before his 46th birthday, he was the youngest major general in the U.S. Army. In June, Clark, along with Major General Dwight Eisenhower, was sent to England as Commanding General (CG) of II Corps, and the next month moved up to CG, Army Forces in the European Theater of Operations (ETO). Along with Eisenhower, he was sent to work out the feasibility of a cross-channel invasion of German-occupied Europe that year, based on the Germany first strategy, which had been agreed on by American and British military and political leaders the year before if the United States were to enter the conflict. It was while in England that Clark first met the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, who was much impressed by Clark, referring to him as "The American Eagle", [15] along with General Sir Alan Brooke, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff (the professional head of the British Army), and Lieutenant General Bernard Montgomery, then commander of the South Eastern Command. After a cross-channel invasion was ruled out for 1942, attention was turned to planning for an Allied invasion of French North Africa, given the codename of Operation Gymnast, later Operation Torch. In October, Clark was assigned to the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO) as deputy to Eisenhower, who was now the Supreme Allied Commander in the theater. In doing so he relinquished command of II Corps. Clark's duty was to prepare for Operation Torch. Clark also made a covert visit to French North Africa (see Operation Flagpole) to meet with pro-Allied officers of the Vichy French forces.

Clark on board USS Ancon during the landings at Salerno, Italy, September 12, 1943. Mark w clark 1943.jpg
Clark on board USS Ancon during the landings at Salerno, Italy, September 12, 1943.

Eisenhower greatly appreciated Clark's contributions. Clark, at the age of 46, was promoted to lieutenant general on November 11, 1942, three days after the Torch landings. He was the youngest three-star general in the U.S. Army. On January 5, 1943, the United States created its first field army overseas, the Fifth Army, with Clark as its CG, although neither Clark nor Fifth Army would see service in the fighting in North Africa. Many officers, most notably Major General George S. Patton, Jr., who was both older and senior to Clark, and was then commanding I Armored Corps, came to resent him, believing he had advanced too quickly. Patton, in particular, believed Clark was "too damned slick" and believed Clark was much too concerned with himself. [16] In the presence of senior commanders Patton and Clark were friendly, although Patton, in his journal, wrote "I think that if you treat a skunk nicely, he will not piss on you--as often", referring to Clark after both he and General George Marshall, the Army Chief of Staff, visited Patton's headquarters as the latter explained his plans for the upcoming invasion of Sicily. [17] Clark, for his part, claimed he found it difficult to command men who had been his senior, and he proved reluctant to remove those commanders if they failed in battle. The Fifth Army's initial mission was preparing to keep a surveillance on Spanish Morocco. [18]

On September 9, 1943, the Fifth Army, composed of the U.S. VI Corps, under Major General Ernest J. Dawley—who was a decade older than Clark and about whom Clark had doubts—and the British X Corps, under Lieutenant General Sir Richard L. McCreery—to whom Clark would later scornfully refer as a "feather duster"—under Clark's command landed at Salerno (codenamed Operation Avalanche). The invasion, despite good initial progress, was nearly defeated over the next few days by numerous German counterattacks and Major General Dawley, the VI Corps commander, was sacked and replaced by Major General John P. Lucas, who himself was later sacked and replaced after his perceived failure during Operation Shingle. Clark was subsequently criticized by historians and critics for this near-failure, blamed on poor planning by Clark and his staff. [19] Despite this, however, Clark was later awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. The Fifth Army, by now composed of five American divisions (the 3rd, 34th, 36th and 45th Infantry, along with the 82nd Airborne) and three British divisions (7th Armoured, 46th and 56th Infantry), operating alongside the British Eighth Army, under General Bernard Montgomery, subsequently advanced up the spine of Italy, and captured the Italian city of Naples on October 1, 1943 and crossed the Volturno Line in mid-October. Progress, however, soon began to slow down, due to German resistance, lack of Allied manpower in Italy, and the formidable German defenses known as the Winter Line, which was to hold the Allies up for the next six months.

Clark being awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in Castelvetrano, Italy, December 13, 1943. Mark Clark being awarded Distinguished Service Cross cph.3c35299.jpg
Clark being awarded the Distinguished Service Cross by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in Castelvetrano, Italy, December 13, 1943.

During the Battle of Monte Cassino, Clark ordered the bombing of the Abbey on 15 February 1944. This was under direct orders from his superior, British General Sir Harold R. L. G. Alexander, Commander-in-Chief (C-in-C) of the Allied Armies in Italy (AAI). [20] Clark and his chief of staff, Major General Alfred Gruenther, remained unconvinced of the military necessity of the bombing. When handing over the U.S. II Corps position to the New Zealand Corps, under Lieutenant General Sir Bernard C. Freyberg, the Assistant Division Commander (ADC) of the U.S. 34th Infantry Division, Brigadier General Frederic B. Butler, claimed "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." [21] The commander of the 4th Indian Infantry Division, Major General Francis Tuker, urged the bombing of the entire massif with the heaviest bombs available. [22] Clark finally pinned down the Commander-in-Chief, Alexander, recounting that "I said, 'You give me a direct order and we'll do it' and he did." [23]

From left to right, Alfred Gruenther, Donald W. Brann, Mark W. Clark, and Guy Garrod. Gruenther, Brann, Clark, Garrod cph.3c35296.jpg
From left to right, Alfred Gruenther, Donald W. Brann, Mark W. Clark, and Guy Garrod.

Clark's conduct of operations in the Italian Campaign is controversial, particularly during the actions around the German Winter Line, such as the U.S. 36th Infantry Division's assault on the Gari river in January 1944, which failed with 1,681 casualties and nothing gained. American military historian Carlo D'Este called Clark's choice to take the undefended Italian capital of Rome, after Operation Diadem and the breakout from the Anzio beachhead, in early June, rather than focusing on the destruction of the German 10th Army, "as militarily stupid as it was insubordinate". [24] Although Clark described a "race to Rome" and released an edited version of his diary for the official historians, his complete papers became available only after his death. [25]

Clark led the Fifth Army, now much reduced in manpower, having given up both the U.S. VI Corps and the French Expeditionary Corps (CEF) for Operation Dragoon, the Allied invasion of Southern France (which Clark had always opposed), throughout the battles around the Gothic Line. For the offensive, Clark's Fifth Army (now composed only of the II Corps—with the 34th and 85th Infantry Divisions—under Major General Geoffrey Keyes, and the IV Corps—with the 88th and 91st Infantry Divisions—under Major General Willis D. Crittenberger and the 1st Armored Division in reserve) was reinforced by the British XIII Corps, under Lieutenant General Sidney Kirkman. The initial stages went well until the autumn weather began and, as it did the previous year, the advance bogged down.

Generalleutnant Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin, the commander of XIV Panzer Corps, meets General Clark, Lieutenant General Sir Richard McCreery and Lieutenant General Lucian K. Truscott, Jr. at 15th Army Group Headquarters, where the Germans received instructions regarding the unconditional surrender of German forces in Italy and West Austria, May 1945. Lieutenant General von Senger und Etterlin receiving instructions regarding surrender of German forces in Italy and western Austria.jpg
Generalleutnant Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin, the commander of XIV Panzer Corps, meets General Clark, Lieutenant General Sir Richard McCreery and Lieutenant General Lucian K. Truscott, Jr. at 15th Army Group Headquarters, where the Germans received instructions regarding the unconditional surrender of German forces in Italy and West Austria, May 1945.

In December 1944 Clark succeeded Alexander as commander of the AAI, renamed the 15th Army Group, and Alexander was made the Supreme Commander of the AFHQ in the Mediterranean, replacing Field Marshal Sir Henry Maitland Wilson, who himself was called to Washington to replace Field Marshal Sir John Dill as head of the British Joint Chiefs of Staff. [26] Succeeding Clark as commander of the Fifth Army was Lieutenant General Lucian Truscott, who had previously commanded VI Corps and, before that, the 3rd Division. Clark was promoted to the four-star rank of general on March 10, 1945, aged 48, the youngest in the United States Army. Clark led the 15th Army Group in the Spring 1945 offensive in Italy, codenamed Operation Grapeshot, which brought the war in Italy to an end, and afterwards he accepted the German surrender in Italy in May and became Commander of the Allied Forces in Italy at the end of World War II in Europe.

Early on the morning of January 28, 1944, a PT boat carrying Clark to the Anzio beachhead, six days after the Anzio landings, was mistakenly fired on by U.S. naval vessels. Several sailors were killed and wounded around him. [27] Next month, during the air raid he ordered on Monte Cassino abbey, 16 bombs were mistakenly dropped at the Fifth Army headquarter compound then 17 miles (27 km) away from there, exploding yards from his trailer while he was at his desk inside. [28] A few months later, on June 10, he again narrowly escaped death when, while flying over Civitavecchia, his pilot failed to see the cable of a barrage balloon. The cable entwined the wing, forcing the Piper Cub into a rapid downward spiral. The plane broke free of the cable after the third time around, leaving a large section of the wing behind. The fuel tank ruptured, spraying the fuselage with gasoline. Miraculously, the pilot managed to land safely in a cornfield. "I never had a worse experience" wrote Clark to his wife. [29]

Post-war era and Korean War

Later in 1945, as Commander in Chief of US Forces of Occupation in Austria, Clark gained experience negotiating with Communists, which he would put to good use a few years later. Clark 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 and two years later was named chief of Army Field Forces. [10] On October 20, 1951, he was nominated by President Harry S. Truman to be the United States emissary to the Holy See. Clark later withdrew his nomination on January 13, 1952, following protests from Texas Senator Tom Connally and Protestant groups. [ citation needed ]

Congressional inquiry

It was announced on 20 January 1946, that the U.S. 36th Infantry Division Veteran's Association had unanimously called for a Congressional inquiry into Clark's actions during the 36th Infantry Division's disastrous crossing of the Gari River (erroneously identified as the Rapido) on the night of 20 January 1944. The petition read:

Be it resolved, that the men of the 36th Division Association petition the Congress of the United States to investigate the river Rapido fiasco and take the necessary steps to correct a military system that will permit an inefficient and inexperienced officer, such as General Mark W. Clark, in a high command to destroy the young manhood of this country and to prevent future soldiers being sacrificed wastefully and uselessly. [30]

Two resolutions were heard in the House of Representatives, one of which claimed the incident was "one of the most colossal blunders of the Second World War ... a murderous blunder" that "every man connected with this undertaking knew ... was doomed to failure." [31]

Clark was absolved of blame by the House of Representatives, but never commented on the Rapido River episode following World War II. [31]

During and after the Korean War

Clark signing the Korean Armistice Agreement on July 27, 1953. General Clark signs the Korean Armistice Agreement.jpg
Clark signing the Korean Armistice Agreement on July 27, 1953.

During the Korean War, he took over as commander of the United Nations Command on May 12, 1952, succeeding General Matthew Ridgway, a close friend and a fellow graduate of the West Point class of 1917.[ citation needed ] Clark commanded UN forces in Korea until the armistice was signed on July 27, 1953 and retired from the Army on October 31 of the same year.

Clark's signature on the Korean Armistice Agreement. Korean Armistice En-Text 1953.jpg
Clark's signature on the Korean Armistice Agreement.

Post-military career

From 1954 until 1965, after retiring from the Army, Clark served as president of The Citadel, the military college located in Charleston, South Carolina. [32]

From 1954 to 1955, Clark was head of the so-called "Clark Task Force" to study and make recommendations on all intelligence activities of the Federal government. [33] The task force had been created 1953 by the second Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government, a.k.a. the Hoover Commission because it was chaired by Herbert Hoover.[ citation needed ]

Members of the Clark Task Force were Adm. Richard L. Conolly, USN (Ret), a former Deputy Chief of Naval Operations; Ernest F. Hollings, the speaker pro tempore of South Carolina's House of Representatives; California businessman Henry Kearns; Edward V. Rickenbacker, World War I flying ace and president of Eastern Air Lines;and Donald S. Russell, a former Assistant Secretary of State. The staff director was Maj. Gen. James G. Christiansen, USA (Ret). The task force first met early November 1954 and in May 1955 submitted one Top Secret report for the President, and another unclassified for the Hoover Commission and Congress. [33] The Clark task force coined the term Intelligence Community to describe "...the machinery for accomplishing our intelligence objectives." [34]

Clark wrote two memoirs: Calculated Risk (1950) [35] and From the Danube to the Yalu (1954). [36] His wife, Maurine, also wrote a memoir: Captain's Bride, General's Lady (1956). [37]

In 1962, Clark was elected an honorary member of the South Carolina Society of the Cincinnati in recognition of his outstanding service to his country.[ citation needed ]

Retirement and death

General Clark retired in 1965 when he stepped down as president of The Citadel. He lived in Charleston, South Carolina in retirement where he died on April 17, 1984, shortly before his 88th birthday. He was the last surviving officer who had held four-star rank during World War II. He was buried on the campus of The Citadel. [38]

Awards and decorations

Distinguished Service Cross ribbon.svg Distinguished Service Cross
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svg
Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svg
Army Distinguished Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Navy Distinguished Service ribbon.svg Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit ribbon.svg Legion of Merit
Bronze Star ribbon.svg Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart BAR.svg Purple Heart
World War I Victory Medal ribbon.svg World War I Victory Medal
Army of Occupation of Germany ribbon.svg Army of Occupation of Germany Medal
American Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg American Defense Service Medal
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign ribbon.svg
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with 7 campaign stars
World War II Victory Medal ribbon.svg World War II Victory Medal
Army of Occupation ribbon.svg Army of Occupation Medal
National Defense Service Medal ribbon.svg National Defense Service Medal
Korean Service Medal - Ribbon.svg
Korean Service Medal with 3 campaign stars
Legion Honneur GC ribbon.svg Légion d'honneur, Grand Cross (France)
TCH Rad Bileho Lva 1 tridy (pre1990) BAR.svg Order of the White Lion, First Class (Czechoslovak Socialist Republic)
Cavaliere di gran Croce Regno SSML BAR.svg Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, Grand Cross (Italy)
Cavaliere di gran croce OMS BAR.svg Military Order of Savoy, Grand Cross (Italy)
MAR Order of the Ouissam Alaouite - Grand Cross (1913-1956) BAR.png Order of Ouissam Alaouite, Grand Cross - First Class (Morocco)
Order of Suvorov 106x30.png Order of Suvorov, First Class (USSR)
Order of the Bath (ribbon).svg Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath (United Kingdom)
Order of the British Empire (Military) Ribbon.png Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (United Kingdom)
BEL Kroonorde Grootofficier BAR.svg Order of the Crown, Grand Officer (Belgium)
Order of the Southern Cross Grand Officer (Brazil) Ribbon.png Order of the Southern Cross, Grand Officer (Brazil)
Valor militare silver medal BAR.svg Medaglia d'Argento (Italy)
Virtuti Militari Ribbon.png Order Wojenny Virtuti Militari, Krzyż Srebrny/Silver Cross (Poland)
United Nations Korea Medal ribbon.svg United Nations Service Medal

Dates of Rank

No insignia Cadet United States Military Academy June 14, 1913
US-O1 insignia.svg Second lieutenant Regular Army April 20, 1917
US-O2 insignia.svg First lieutenant Regular ArmyMay 15, 1917
US-O3 insignia.svg Captain National ArmyAugust 5, 1917
US-O3 insignia.svg Captain Regular ArmyNovember 7, 1919
US-O4 insignia.svg Major Regular ArmyJanuary 14, 1933
US-O5 insignia.svg Lieutenant colonel Regular ArmyJuly 1, 1940
US-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier general Army of the United StatesAugust 4, 1941
US-O8 insignia.svg Major general Army of the United StatesApril 17, 1942
US-O9 insignia.svg Lieutenant general Army of the United StatesNovember 11, 1942
US-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier general Regular ArmySeptember 14, 1943
US-O10 insignia.svg General Army of the United StatesMarch 10, 1945

Personal life

Clark married Maurine Doran, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. M. A. Doran of Muncie, Ind., May 17, 1924. Mrs. Clark died October 5, 1966. Their son was Maj. William Doran Clark, U.S.A. (Ret.), [39] and their daughter Patricia Ann (Mrs. Gordon H. Costing). [40] Later in life he married Mary Dean. [41] Patricia Ann did not have any children. William had 5 children: Louise Clark Goddard, Doran Clark Abrams, D'Wayne Clark Waterman, Helen Clark Atkeson, and Larry Clark.

Mark W. Clark was initiated to the Scottish Rite Freemasonry [42] in the Mystic Tie Lodge No. 398, Indianapolis, IN, receiving the 33rd and highest degree. [43]


An interstate spur (I-526) in the suburbs of Charleston, South Carolina, was named Mark Clark Expressway in his honor.

Mark Clark Hall on the campus of The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina is named in General Clark's honor.

From 1949 to August 17, 2010, the Mark Clark Bridge in Washington connected Camano Island with the adjacent town of Stanwood on the mainland. It was then superseded by the Camano Gateway Bridge, the Mark Clark Bridge being demolished the following month.

Fort Drum's Clark Hall is named for him. Fort Drum is located near Clark's Madison Barracks birthplace, and Clark Hall is used for administrative in processing and out processing of soldiers assigned to the 10th Mountain Division.

The term "intelligence community", created by the federal intelligence-review "Clark Task Force" General Clark headed from 1953 to 1955, remains in use by the U.S. government and civilian populace.

In film

Clark was portrayed by Michael Rennie in the film The Devil's Brigade . The film is about the exploits of the 1st Special Service Force, commanded by Colonel Robert T. Frederick, which came under Clark's command in the Italian Campaign.

See also


  1. 1 2 3 Atkinson (2002), p.44.
  2. "General Mark Clark",
  3. "Once Upon a Time in Liberated Rome", Robert Katz's History of Modern Italy
  4. From Salerno to Rome: General Mark W. Clark and the Challenges of Coalition Warfare Master's thesis abstract
  5. Michael Warner; Kenneth McDonald. "US Intelligence Community Reform Studies Since 1947" (PDF). CIA. p. 4. Retrieved 12 December 2014.
  6. "Clark, General Mark Wayne (1896-1984)". Seattle, Washington. Retrieved 2012-02-10. ..grew up in Highland Park, a Chicago suburb near Fort Sheridan ...
  7. Blumenson, pps. 9−15
  8. 1 2 Blumenson, p. 16
  9. 1 2 Blumenson, p. 18
  10. 1 2 3 4 5 "Biography (Mark W. Clark)" (PDF). The Citadel Archives & Museum. Retrieved 24 June 2013.
  11. 1 2 3 Blumenson, p. 20
  12. 1 2 Blumenson, p. 21
  13. 1 2 Blumenson, p. 22
  14. Robertson, Rickey. "Remembering the Louisiana Maneuvers of 1941". SFA Center for Regional Heritage Research. Retrieved 25 June 2013.
  15. Blumenson, p. 63
  16. Blumenson, p. 3
  17. Blumenson, p. 131
  18. Blumenson, p. 113
  19. Baxter (1999), p.58-9.
  20. Clark may be seen introducing the John Huston 1945 film, "The Battle of San Pietro" on various sites, including
  21. Majdalany, Fred (1957). The Battle of Cassino. Houghton Mifflin. p. 140.
  22. Holmes (2001) p113
  23. Hapgood & Richardson, p. 173
  24. Holmes, Richard Battlefields of the Second World War "Cassino" 2001 BBC Worldwide p 126
  25. Holmes (2001) p 127.
  26. Katz (2003), p.27.
  27. World War II Today - Jan. 28, 1944 website
  28. Brigadier C.J.C. Molony, Captain (RN) F.C. Flynn, Major General H.L. Davies and Group Captain T.P. Gleave, The Mediterranean and Middle East, Volume V; The Campaign in Sicily 193 and The Campaign in Italy 3rd September 1943 to 31st March 1944 (History of the Second World War United Kingdom Military Series) (2004), page 695, U.K. Naval & Military Press. ISBN   1-84574-069-6.
  29. Holland, James (2008). Italy's Sorrow: A Year of War, 1944-1945. Macmillan. pp. 213–4. ISBN   1429945435.
  30. The Tuscaloosa News, January 20, 1946, Texas Troops Ask Inquiry
  31. 1 2 " Content".
  32. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-05-17. Retrieved 2012-06-07.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  33. 1 2 Michael Warner; Kenneth McDonald. "US Intelligence Community Reform Studies Since 1947". CIA. p. 15. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  34. The Clark report, "Intelligence service. A Report to the Congress". Volume 2, 76 pages, 13, 17–18.
  35. Clark, Mark W. Calculated Risk. New York: Harper, 1950. OCLC   358946.
  36. Clark, Mark W. From the Danube to the Yalu. New York: Harper, 1954. OCLC   178967.
  37. Clark, Maurine Doran. Captain's Bride, General's Lady: The Memoirs of Mrs. Mark W. Clark. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1956. OCLC   1362519.
  38. "Mark Wayne Clark". Find a Grave. Retrieved July 1, 2019.
  39. "WILLIAM CLARK Obituary - Washington, DC - The Washington Post". The Washington Post.
  41. Gen Mark W Clark Married to Widow from Chicago Tribune, 18 October 1967, retrieved 29 July 2017
  42. "Famous men members of Masonic Lodges". American Canadian Grand Lodge ACGL. Archived from the original on Nov 17, 2018.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  43. "Celebrating more than 100 years of the Freemasonry: famous Freemasons in the history". Mathawan Lodge No 192 F.A. & A.M., New Jersey. Archived from the original on May 10, 2008.Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)

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Military offices
Preceded by
Newly activated organization
Commanding General II Corps
June 1942 – October 1942
Succeeded by
Lloyd Fredendall
Preceded by
Newly activated organization
Commanding General Fifth Army
Succeeded by
Lucian Truscott
Preceded by
George Price Hays
Commanding General Sixth Army
Succeeded by
Albert Coady Wedemeyer
Preceded by
Matthew Ridgway
Supreme Commander, United Nations Command
Succeeded by
John E. Hull