Monday, March 15, 2010
FUNERAL FOR W.W.II HERO
FUNERAL SERVICES WEDNESDAY FOR LT GEN CLARK
U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo., – Funeral services for the Air Force Academy’s sixth superintendent, Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. A.P. Clark, are scheduled for Wednesday.
The General died March 8 at the age of 96. A resident of Colorado Springs, Colo., General Clark was the sixth superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy, from Aug. 1, 1970, to July 31, 1974.
Services start with a 10 a.m. Funeral Mass in the Cadet Chapel, followed by a graveside service at the Academy Cemetery.
The general was a 1936 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, and went on to a flying career after graduation. He went to England in June 1942 with the 31 st Fighter Group, the first American fighter unit in the European Theater of Operations. He was shot down over Abbeville, France, in July 1942, and spent 33 months as a Prisoner of War. As a POW, then-Lt. Col. Clark continued his efforts to resist the enemy by managing the production and hiding of escape supplies for his fellow prisoners. His efforts helped support the 1944 escape of 76 POWs from Stalag Luft III, and that escape served as inspiration for the 1963 film, The Great Escape.
After World War II, he progressed through key staff and command assignments stateside and overseas, culminating in his 1970 appointment to be the sixth superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy.
His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Air Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, and the Purple Heart.
After retiring from active duty, the general stayed active with the Air Force Academy. He headed up the Friends of the Library, which benefits the Cadet Library, concentrating on the library’s Special Collections. General Clark on was instrumental in creating an extensive collection of materials and histories from his POW days in Stalag Luft III.
Flags at the Academy will be at half-staff on Wednesday for General Clark.