Open Access Articles- Top Results for Mark W. Clark

Mark W. Clark

For other people named Mark Clark, see Mark Clark (disambiguation).
Mark W. Clark
File:Mark Wayne Clark 1943.jpg
Major General Mark Wayne Clark in 1943
Birth name Mark Wayne Clark
Nickname(s) Contraband (while at West Point)[1]
Born (1896-05-01)May 1, 1896
Madison Barracks, Sackets Harbor, New York, U.S.
Died April 17, 1984(1984-04-17) (aged 87)
Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.
Buried at The Citadel
Charleston, South Carolina
Allegiance 23px United States of America
Service/branch 25px United States Army
Years of service 1917-1953
Rank 25px General
Commands held 25px Fifth U.S. Army
25px 15th Army Group
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 an American general during World War II and the Korean War and was the youngest lieutenant general (three-star general) in the U.S. Army.

During World War I, he commanded a company of soldiers in 1917 and was seriously wounded by shrapnel. After the war, Clark’s abilities were noticed by future U.S. Army Chief of Staff George Marshall.[2] During World War II, he commanded the Allied Fifth Army, and later the Fifteenth Army Group, in the Italian campaign. He is known for leading the Fifth Army in its capture of Rome in June 1944.

Clark has been heavily criticized for ignoring the orders of his superior officer, General Harold Alexander, and is to blame for the escape of the German 10th Army which he let slip away in his pursuit of being the first to enter Rome - a strategically unimportant city. The German 10th Army joined with their countrymen at the Trasimene Line.[3] In 1945 Clark became the youngest American to be promoted to general.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower considered him a brilliant staff officer and trainer.[4] Clark was awarded many medals, including the Distinguished Service Cross, the U.S. Army's second highest award.

One legacy of the "Clark task force" which he headed from 1953-55 to recommend on all Federal intelligence activities, is coining the term Intelligence Community.[5]

Early life and career

Clark was born in Madison Barracks, Sackets Harbor, New York, but spent much of his youth in Highland Park, Illinois, while his father, a career Infantry officer, was stationed at Fort Sheridan.[6] His mother was the daughter of Romanian Jews but Clark was baptized Episcopalian while a cadet at West Point.[1]

Clark gained an early appointment to the military academy at age 17, but lost time from frequent illnesses. Known as "Contraband" by his classmates because of his ability to smuggle sweets into the barracks,[1] Clark graduated from West Point in April 1917, with a class ranking of 110th in a class of 139, and was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant of Infantry. In the rapid expansion of the United States Army during World War I he rose rapidly in rank, promoted to 1st lieutenant on May 15 and captain on August 5, 1917.[7] 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 United States Army until the end of hostilities, then served with the Third Army in its occupation duties in Germany.

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, then served as a staff officer with the 30th Infantry at The Presidio in San Francisco, California. His next assignment was as a training instructor to the Indiana National Guard,[7] 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 1935-36, between tours at the Command and General Staff School in 1935 and the Army War College in 1937. Assigned to Fort Lewis, Washington, Clark was selected to instruct at the Army War College in March 1940, where he received a promotion to lieutenant colonel on July 1. Clark and General Lesley McNair selected the thousands of acres of unused land in Louisiana for military maneuvers at Louisiana Maneuvers.[8]

On August 4, 1941, Clark was promoted two grades to brigadier general as the United States 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.[7]

World War II

In January 1942, a month after the American 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 were rapidly moved to newly created commands by General Gage Michael Miller.[7]

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. He was promoted to major general on August 17, 1942. In October 1942, Clark was assigned to the North African Theater as deputy commander-in-chief under Eisenhower. Clark's duty in this assignment was to prepare for Operation Torch, the imminent Allied invasion of French North Africa. Clark also made a covert visit to French North Africa (Operation Flagpole) to meet with pro-Allied officers of the Vichy French forces there.

Eisenhower greatly appreciated Clark's contributions. Clark was promoted to lieutenant general on November 11, 1942, three days after the Torch landings.

On 5 January 1943, the U.S. created its first field army overseas, the U.S. Fifth Army, with Clark as commander. Fifth Army was tasked with preparing for the eventual invasion of mainland Italy.

On 8 September 1943, Fifth Army under Clark's command landed at Salerno (Operation Avalanche). The invasion was nearly defeated by German counterattack, and Clark was subsequently criticized by British historians and critics for this near-failure, blamed on poor planning by Clark and his staff.[9]

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

During the Battle of Monte Cassino, Clark ordered the destruction by bombing of the Abbey of Monte Cassino on 15 February 1944. This was under direct orders from his superior, General Sir Harold Alexander, Commander-in-Chief of Allied Armies in Italy.[10] Clark and his chief of staff Major General Alfred Gruenther remained unconvinced of the “military necessity” of that bombing. When handing over the U.S. II Corps position to the New Zealand Corps, Brigadier-General Frederic 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."[11] The commander of the 4th Indian division urged the bombing of the entire massif with the heaviest bombs available.[12] Clark finally pinned down Alexander: “I said, 'You give me a direct order and we’ll do it,' and he did."[13]

Clark's conduct of operations in Italy is controversial, particularly his actions during the Battle of the Winter Line. The American military historian Carlo D'Este called Clark's choice to take Rome, rather than focusing on the destruction of the German Tenth Army, "as militarily stupid as it was insubordinate".[14] 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.[15]

Early on the morning of January 28, 1944, a PT boat carrying Clark to the Anzio beachhead was mistakenly fired on by US naval vessels. Several sailors were killed and wounded around him.[16] 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 the flammable liquid. Miraculously, the pilot managed to land safely in a cornfield. "I never had a worse experience," wrote Clark to his wife.[17]

In December 1944 Clark succeeded Alexander 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 - by that time an international coalition of numerous diverse cultures with often conflicting interests.[18]

Clark was promoted to general on March 10, 1945. After accepting the German surrender in Italy in May, he became Commander of Allied Forces in Italy as the war in Europe ended.

Between World War II and the 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.[7]

On October 20, 1951, he was nominated by President Harry 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.

Congressional inquiry

It was announced on 20 January 1946, that the US 36th 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 Rapido River 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 a 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."[19]

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."[20]

Clark was absolved of blame by the House of Representatives but never made comment on the Rapido River episode following World War II.[20]

During and after the Korean War

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

From 1954 until 1965, after retiring from the Army, General Clark served as president of The Citadel, the military college located in Charleston, South Carolina.[21]

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.[22] 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.

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.[22] The Clark task force coined the term Intelligence Community to describe “...the machinery for accomplishing our intelligence objectives.”[23]

Clark wrote two memoirs: Calculated Risk (1950) and From the Danube to the Yalu (1954).

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.

Awards and decorations

File: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
60px Distinguished Service Cross
Army Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster
60px Navy Distinguished Service Medal
60px Legion of Merit
60px Bronze Star Medal
60px Purple Heart
60px World War I Victory Medal
60px Army of Occupation of Germany Medal
60px American Defense Service Medal
60px European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
60px World War II Victory Medal
60px Army of Occupation Medal
60px National Defense Service Medal
60px Korean Service Medal
60px Order of the Crown, Grand Officer (Belgium)
60px Order of the Southern Cross, Grand Officer (Brazil)
60px Order of the White Lion, First Class (Czechoslovak Socialist Republic)
60px Légion d'honneur, Grand Cross (France)
60px Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, Grand Cross (Italy)
60px Military Order of Savoy, Grand Cross (Italy)
60px Medaglia d'Argento (Italy)
60px Order Wojenny Virtuti Militari, Krzyż Srebrny/Silver Cross (Poland)
60px Order of Ouissam Alaouite, Grand Cross - First Class (Morocco)
60px Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (United Kingdom)
60px Order of Suvorov, First Class (USSR)
60px United Nations Service Medal

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 is Maj. William Doran Clark, U.S.A. (Ret.), and their daughter Patricia Ann (Mrs. Gordon H. Costing).[24]


An interstate spur (I-526) in the suburbs of Charleston, South Carolina, was named Mark Clark Expressway in his honor.
Prior to August 17, 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 being demolished the following month.

Clark Hall located in FT.Drum,NY home of the 10th Mountain(Light Infantry) Division is named for him. All soldier's deploying and redeploying as well as inprocessing/outprocessing FT.Drum go here.

In film

Clark was portrayed by Michael Rennie in the film The Devil's Brigade.


  1. ^ a b c 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. ^ a b c d e "Biography (Mark W. Clark)" (PDF). The Citadel Archives & Museum. Retrieved 24 June 2013. 
  8. ^ Robertson, Rickey. "Remembering the Louisiana Maneuvers of 1941". SFA Center for Regional Heritage Research. Retrieved 25 June 2013. 
  9. ^ Baxter (1999), p.58-9.
  10. ^ Clark may be seen introducing the John Huston 1945 film, "The Battle of San Pietro" on various sites, including [1]
  11. ^ Majdalany, Fred (1957). The Battle of Cassino. Houghton Mifflin. p. 140. 
  12. ^ Holmes (2001) p113
  13. ^ Hapgood & Richardson, p. 173
  14. ^ Holmes, Richard Battlefields of the Second World War "Cassino" 2001 BBC Worldwide p 126
  15. ^ Holmes (2001) p 127.
  16. ^ World War II Today - Jan. 28, 1944 website
  17. ^ Holland, James (2008). Italy’s Sorrow: A Year of War, 1944-1945. Macmillan. pp. 213–4. ISBN 1429945435. 
  18. ^ Katz (2003), p.27.
  19. ^ The Tuscaloosa News, January 20, 1946, Texas Troops Ask Inquiry
  20. ^ a b Rapido River Disaster
  21. ^
  22. ^ a b Michael Warner; Kenneth McDonald. "US Intelligence Community Reform Studies Since 1947". CIA. p. 15. Retrieved 28 June 2013.
  23. ^ The Clark report, "Intelligence service. A Report to the Congress". Volume 2, 76 pages, 13, 17–18.
  24. ^


  • Atkinson, Rick (2002). Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943. Holt Paperbacks. ISBN 0-8050-8724-9. 
  • Atkinson, Rick (2008). The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944. Holt Paperbacks. ISBN 978-0-8050-8861-8. 
  • Baxter, Colin F. (1999). Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1887-1976: A Selected Bibliography. Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-29119-7. 
  • Clark, Mark W. (2007). CALCULATED RISK, The War Memoirs of a Great American General. Enigma Books. ISBN 978-1-929631-59-9. 
  • Katz, Robert (2003). The Battle for Rome. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7432-1642-5. 
  • Hapgood, David; Richardson, David (2002) [1984]. Monte Cassino: The Story of the Most Controversial Battle of World War II (reprint ed.). Cambridge Mass.: Da Capo. ISBN 0-306-81121-9. 

External links

Military offices
Preceded by
Newly activated organization
Commanding General of the Fifth United States Army
Succeeded by
Lucian Truscott
Preceded by
George Price Hays
Commanding General of the Sixth United States Army
Succeeded by
Albert Coady Wedemeyer
Preceded by
George S. Patton
Commanding General of the Seventh United States Army
1 January 1944 to 2 March 1944
Succeeded by
Alexander Patch

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