Carl Clark (1916 - 2017)

Carl Clark, a veteran whose actions of wartime heroism deserved a medal for heroism but was denied the recognition for more than 60 years because he was black, died March 16, 2017, at the Menlo Park Veteran's Affairs Hospital in California. He was 100.

Clark's death was announced Tuesday, March 28, by his daughter, Karen Clark Collins.

On May 3, 1945, Clark's ship, the USS Aaron Ward, was struck by six Kamikaze planes and two bombs during World War II. Clark was one of six African-American soldiers on the ship.


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"They would guide those planes directly into the ships," Clark told The Associated Press in an interview in 2011. He likened the airplanes to "flying bombs."

Clark was hailed for saving the lives of several men by dragging them to safety. He also extinguished a fire in an ammunition locker that would have split the ship in two.

On Jan. 17, 2012, Clark finally received the prestigious Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal With Combat Distinguishing Device during a ceremony at Moffett Field in Mountain View, California.

After the war, Clark returned home and helped organize the Boys and Girls Club in Menlo Park, among other acts of community service, his daughter said.

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