Clark, Eugene F. [Lt NC G-2 HqCICFE]

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Clark, far right, on Yŏnghŭng-do, Korea

Eugene F. Clark
The Navy Cross
Born 1911-12
Died 1998 (aged 86)
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Navy seal United States Navy
Rank two silver stars Commander
Wars Korean War
Awards Navy Cross

Commander Eugene F. Clark, USN, was deployed (as a Lieutenant) to the Flying Fish Channel, leading into Inchon. Quickly surveying the area, he and two accompanying South Korean officers Lieutenant Youn Joung (Navy) and Colonel Ke In-Ju (Counterintelligence) landed Yŏnghŭng-do Island in Incheon Harbor in advance of the US forces led invasion of Inchon leading to the Battle of Inchon.

Clark and his Korean officers secured the help of the people on the island and using captured junks began to run raids on the North Korean occupied islands of Taebu-do and the harbor fortress of Wŏlmi-do. He also ran daily mine patrols up and down the channel to ensure the invasion fleet would not be so hampered. Clark was also assisted by Commander Lee Sung Ho, the captain of one of South Korea's four gunboats, at the direction of Admiral Sohn Won-Yil, Chief of Naval Operations, South Korean Navy. He also armed and assisted organized resistance groups hiding out in the hills near Inchon. By doing this he was able to gain valuable information about the layout of troops in the city.

The North Koreans had been slowly infiltrating men onto Yŏnghŭng-do for many days and on the night of September 14, the day before the invasion, they struck. Lieutenant Clark and his men bravely fought off the assault by a numerically superior force of North Koreans. However, they were forced to evacuate themselves and all who assisted them to the previously secured lighthouse island of Palmi-do. A day later, at the request of Clark, a battalion of Marines was deployed to take Taebu-do and Yonghung Do. They stormed the islands with vengeance for the brave Koreans who died to help Lieutenant Clark. However, the North Koreans had already murdered over fifty people who had helped Clark and his men but refused to leave the island with them. Lieutenant Clark was awarded the Silver Star for "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity" in obtaining "vital intelligence information". He was also awarded the Legion of Merit.

Later, in advance of the UN Forces making their way to the Yalu River, Clark, Lieutenant Youn Joung, and 150 South Korean guerillas went island hopping up the west coast of North Korea. After several fierce firefights, Clark was secure and began infiltrating agents. When they reached the Yalu, in late October, they made a shattering discovery. Large numbers of Chinese Communist troops were crossing the Yalu into North Korea. Clark fired this information off to the Far East Command in Tokyo, but they ignored it. Soon faced with a million Chi-Com "volunteers", the UN Forces and General Matthew B. Ridgway were driven back across the 38th Parallel before being able to counterattack. Lieutenant Clark received another Silver Star for that mission.

In his last mission in early 1951, Clark escorted Brigadier General Crawford Sams, one of the Army's top doctors into Chi-Com held Wonsan to investigate a reported outbreak of bubonic plague. Killing the sentries, Clark's team penetrated a small hospital and Brig. Gen. Sams concluded that it was a brand of smallpox. For this, Eugene Clark was awarded the Navy Cross.

Commander Eugene Franklin Clark retired from the United States Navy in 1966, and lived quietly in California and Nevada with his wife Enid until his death in 1998 at 86. He wrote this account for his Korean comrades who fought and died with him on the Flying Fish Islands. However, he never attempted to publish it at all in his lifetime. It wasn't until the summer of 2000, when Thomas Fleming published an account of his exploits that the Clark family remembered the narrative he had written shortly after returning home, along with a DOD clearance to tell the story as he had experienced it. The book is titled: The Secrets of Inchon: The Untold Story of the Most Daring Covert Mission of the Korean War.

A character whom the author admitted was loosely based on Clark, Lieutenant David R. Taylor, USNR, appears in the W.E.B. Griffin novel, Under Fire.


The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Eugene F. Clark, Lieutenant, U.S. Navy, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy of the United Nations while serving with Special Operations Group, G-2, Headquarters, Far East Command, in enemy-held territory in North Korea on 13 and 14 September 1951. Lieutenant Clark was a member of a special operations group which landed in enemy-occupied territory to perform a confidential mission. Lieutenant Clark, in charge of the shore party, proceeded by boat from an offshore rendezvous lying approximately twenty miles offshore through rough seas to a point approximately two hundred yards off the beach of enemy-held territory, known to be occupied and in the process of being mined by Chinese Communist forces in anticipation of an invasion by United States forces. He then transferred to a small rubber boat and landed through the surf on the beach where he contacted friendly personnel who had been operating in that area. He then proceeded inland to the vicinity of an enemy-occupied village, reconnoitered the area and posted guards at the village and northward from the landing point to intercept Chinese Communist patrols in order to protect the remainder of the party during the performance of the confidential mission. On completion of the mission he returned by rubber boat through a surf which had subsequently become heavier and increasingly dangerous to the off-shore rendezvous. The hazards of capture based on losses of preceding groups, together with warnings received from ashore that the enemy was aware of the planned operation did not deter this gallant officer from continuing to volunteer and successfully completing the mission. He was well aware that if he fell into the hands of the enemy, who were on the alert and occupying the entire area, he could anticipate the same fate as those who had preceded him; that is, torture followed by death. Lieutenant Clark's display of outstanding courage and gallantry uphold the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.