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Mark Wayne Clark is Born

Today in Masonic History Mark Wayne Clark is born in 1896.

Mark Wayne Clark was an American army general.

Clark was born in Sacketts Harbor, New York on May 1st, 1896. His father was a career infantry officer and was stationed there. He grew up most of the time in Highland Park, Illinois while his father was stationed at Fort Sheridan. Clark gained an early admission to West Point, although his education was slow due to frequent illness. His classmates called him "Contraband" due to his ability sneak candy into the barracks. He graduated from West Point in April 1917.

After graduation, due to an expanding Army caused by World War I, Clark was rapidly promoted from 2nd lieutenant, to 1st lieutenant and finally to captain all in the period of a few months. During World War I, he served in France as part of the United States 11th Infantry. He was wounded by shrapnel in Vosges Mountains. He spent the rest of the war in the General Staff Headquarters of the First United States Army.

Between World War I and World War II, Clark served at a variety of duty stations including a training instructor for the Indiana National Guard where he was promoted to Major. In 1940 he was promoted to lieutenant colonel. By 1941, he was promoted to Brigadier General, jumping two ranks, just a few months before the United States official entry into World War II.

In January, 1942, Clark was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff Army Ground Forces. Just a few months later he was promoted to Chief of Staff, as high ranking officers were shifted to create new commands. By the end of 1942, Clark had received another promotion to Major General and had been moved to the African Theatre where he was deputy commander-in-chief under Eisenhower. Clark's chief duty was the planning of Operation Torch which was the imminent landing of allied forces in North Africa. After the successful landing, Clark was promoted to Lieutenant General, making him the youngest three star general in the United States Army.

The rest of World War II brought controversies for Clark. The 5th Army was nearly defeated at Salemo when Operation Avalanche was nearly defeated by a German Counter attack. At the Battle of Monte Cassino, Clark was ordered to destroy the Abbey of Monte Cassino by his superiors. Clark resisted the orders and forced his commanding officer to give him explicit orders to bomb the Abbey. After World War II he was called before Congress to answer claims a disastrous battle at the Rapido River caused the death of thousands of soldiers and was his fault. Congress cleared Clark of all blame.

In 1945, Clark was promoted to General. Shortly after he accepted the surrender of German forces in Italy.

During the Korean war, Clark served as the commander of the United Nations Command, assuming the role in May of 1952.

After retiring, Clark served as the president of the Citadel, a military academy in Charleston, South Carolina.

Clark passed away on April 17, 1984.

Clark was a member of Mystic Tie Lodge No. 398 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.