Clark, Mark Wayne

biography   biography

However, it should be emphasized that poor readiness was evident throughout the Army and not just with the Eighth Army in Japan. For example, the Army Ground Forces (AGF) Headquarters prohibited the use of live ammunition in training exercises following the end of World War II.

 "Live fire demonstrations conducted at schools continued, but unit-level exercises with live ammunition were not conducted from 1945 until the beginning of the Korean War in 1950."[57]

General Mark Wayne Clark as Chief of the Army Field Forces (AFF) Headquarters extended this policy in 1949 when he issued his Training Memorandum No. l., which stated: "Training in infiltration courses is not authorized; Training in 'Combat in Cities and Villages' course and 'Close Combat Course' are not to be conducted with service ammunition (original emphasis)."

June 26, 1950


To many, however, it seemed that Church's time had come and gone, that to send him off to yet another war at his age and in his poor state of health was unfair and unwise. MacArthur, who had turned seventy in January, apparently did not share that view. One result was that by and large, Army officers sent to Korea were older and, in some cases, less robust than their World War II counterparts.[3-24]*

 *At the time of the Normandy invasion Eisenhower was fifty-three, Bradley fifty-one. Army Chief of Staff George Marshall (then sixty-three) believed strongly that younger men should command in the field, but seniority and other factors tied his hands. Hence the three American Army commanders at Normandy were considered "old": Courtney Hodges (First), fifty-seven; George Patton (Third) fifty-eight; William H. Simpson (Ninth) fifty-six. Fifth Army commander Mark Clark and his classmate Joe Collins (in line for ETO Army command), both forty-eight, more nearly fitted Marshall's age criterion.



July 1950

Siding completely with the Army General Staff, General Clark, Chief, Army Field Forces, told Secretary Pace that definite planning goals must be established for all aspects of the Army's expansion as soon as possible. Pace assured these officers that he would press for definite guidance from above. "It is urgently necessary that a decision be taken as soon as possible as to the forces to be mobilized, because upon this is predicated the vital and related problems of procurement, training capacity, and the degree of required industrial mobilization," he said. [07-11]



Mark Wayne Clark (May 1, 1896 – April 17,1984)

was a brilliant American general during World War II and the Korean War. He was one the the five American commanders in WW2 and was the youngest full General ever in the American army. He is known for his triumphal entry into Rome in 1944, the first of the big three axis cities to fall.

 Early life and career

Clark was born in Madison Barracks, Sackets Harbor, New York, but spent much of his youth in Illinois, where his father, a career Infantry officer, was assigned at Fort Sheridan. He was a possible cousin of General George Marshall.

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. He had gained an early appointment to the military academy at age 17, but lost time from frequent illnesses. 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. He served in France during World War I 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 then 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, 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 Leslie McNair selected the thousands of arces of unused land in Louisiana for military maneuvers at Louisiana Maneuvers.

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.

 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 rapidly moved to newly created commands.

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, promoted to major general on August 17, 1942. In October 1942, Clark became deputy commander in chief of the Allied Forces in the North African Theater. 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 October 21–22, 1942.

After the negotiations, Clark was promoted to lieutenant general on November 11, 1942. When the United States created its first field army overseas, the U.S. 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. Clark was subsequently criticized by many, particularly British historians and critics, for the near-failure of the landings at Salerno, as a result of perceived poor planning. Clark commanded the bombing destruction of the Abbey of Monte Cassino during the battle of Monte Cassino, February 15, 1944. Clark's conduct of operations remains controversial, particularly his actions during the Battle of the Winter Line, when, ignoring orders from Army Group Commander, British General Harold Alexander, he sent the U.S. VI Corps towards Rome, which was captured on June 4, 1944, rather than exploiting the gap in the German positions to entrap and capture German units. In December 1944 Clark succeeded Harold Alexander in command of the 15th Army Group, putting him in command of all Allied ground troops in Italy, by that time an international coalition of numerous diverse cultures with often conflicting interests.

He was promoted to general on March 10, 1945, and at the war's end Clark was Commander of Allied Forces in Italy and, later, U.S. High Commissioner of Austria. 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, and two years later was named chief of Army Field Forces.



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

 During and after the Korean War

During the Korean war, he took over as commander of the United Nations forces on May 12, 1952, succeeding General Matthew Ridgway. It was Clark who signed the cease-fire agreement with North Korea in 1953.

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

Mark Clark's rapid rise through general officer ranks after a 24-year career as a relatively obscure officer has been attributed by an U.S. Army biography in part to his professional relationship to General George Marshall and friendship with Dwight Eisenhower.

Among his awards and decorations are the Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Service Medal, Grand Croix Légion d'honneur

Clark is buried at The Citadel.

An Interstate spur (I-526) connecting different suburbs in the Charleston metropolitan area and a bridge in Washington state connecting Camano Island with the mainland bear his name.