Mark W. Clark

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 US Army during World War II.

Mark W. Clark
"Contraband" (while at West Point)[1]
Born(1896-05-01)May 1, 1896
Madison Barracks, Sackets Harbor, New York
DiedApril 17, 1984(1984-04-17) (aged 87)
Charleston, South Carolina
The Citadel, Charleston, South Carolina
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1917–1953
Service numberO-5309
UnitInfantry Branch
Commands heldUnited Nations Command
Sixth United States Army
15th Army Group
Seventh United States Army
Fifth United States Army
II Corps
3rd Battalion, 11th Infantry Regiment
Battles/warsWorld War I
World War II
Korean War
AwardsDistinguished Service Cross
Army Distinguished Service Medal (4)
Navy Distinguished Service Medal
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal
Purple Heart
Maurine Doran
(m. 1924; died 1966)
Other workThe Citadel, President

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 US Army Chief of Staff, General George C. 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 when it captured Rome in June 1944.

Clark has been heavily criticized for ignoring the orders of his superior officer, British General Sir Harold Alexander, and for allowing the German 10th Army to slip away, in his drive to take Rome, the capital of Italy, a strategically unimportant city. Clark ordered Lucian Truscott to select Operation Turtle (moving towards Rome) rather than Operation Buffalo (moving to cut Route 6 at Valmontone), which Alexander had ordered. Clark had, however, left Operation Turtle as an option if Operation Buffalo ran into difficulty. The German 10th Army then joined the rest of the German army group at the Trasimene Line.[3]

In March 1945, at the age of 48, Clark became one of the youngest American officers who was ever promoted to the rank of four-star general. Dwight Eisenhower, a close friend, considered Clark to be a brilliant staff officer and trainer of men.[4]

Clark was awarded many medals, including the Distinguished Service Cross, the US Army's second-highest award.

A legacy of the "Clark Task Force," which he led in 1953 to 1955 to review and to make recommendations on all federal intelligence activities, is the term "intelligence community."[5]