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Pearl Harbor Day Brings Veterans to Mind
by: Geniece Marcum
Just a glance at the calendar today automatically sends the minds of most Americans back to this same date December 7, 1941: Pearl Harbor, WWII, and the millions of brave young men and women who under the mighty hand of God brought our country through to victory.
Today we pay tribute to a member of that "greatest generation," US Navy Veteran Boatsmans Mate, s/c Robert (Bob) F.Clark, of Glasgow, Kentucky.
Robert and his wife Marie now live on Beaver Creek Boat Ramp Road in Barren County. He has just returned home after more than a month's stay in the Glasgow Hospital for treatment.
Bob will be especially remembered in Metcalfe and Barren Counties where he grew up. He was one of nine children of William C. and Iva Coffey Clark of the Summer Shade Community where he was born. The Clark family also lived near Edmonton for a few years before moving to Barren County to live.
Bob enlisted in the US Navy while living in Boston, Ma. in 1943. An older brother, Clyde, now deceased, and his youngest brother, Howard Clark, also served in WWII.
While in the Navy, Bob participated in several engagements and battles during operations in the South Pacific near Okinawa. He served aboard the battleship USS New Mexico, as well as on the Jeep Airplane Carrier the USS Shamrock Bay, and the USS Savon Island.
He describes his whereabouts during the war years simply as being, "all over the Pacific."
While he was aboard the USS New Mexico, the battleship was hit by Japanese Kamikaze pilots on two occasions. Fifty-four crew members were lost, and 125 wounded, in the first attack. Their loss was even greater in Kia, and wounded as a result of the second attack, plus the loss of their Captain who Bob says was killed when he was blown from the ships bridge during the 2nd hit.
Bob's military career finally came to an end on December 30, 1947, when he received his discharge from service. Medals he had earned include the WWII Victory Medal, American Defense, Good Conduct Medal, Asiatic Pacific Area Medal with 7 stars, and the Philipine Liberation Medal with one star.
Bob has been described by a niece, Linda Shive Ello, as always having been full of energy and active. Now in his down time he says he would enjoy receiving cards from all of his old friends and neighbors who remember him. That address is: 943 Beaver Creek Boat Ramp Rd. Glasgow Ky. 42141.
The Clarks have one son, Jerry Robert, who lives in Louisville.
Geniece Marcum has been writing about members of the Greatest Generation in southern Kentucky for more than a decade. If you enjoyed this article, you might be interested in her book, The Best of Senior Quest, published earlier this year. It's available by mail, as an electronic download, or from Amazon.com.
This story was posted on 2009-12-07 18:13:05
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