About Me

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My name is Mike Clark, but you can call me Mike, or anything else you want. Just don't call me late to dinner.

I was born in Los Angeles, California, but have been living in the far more salubrious climate of Western Washington state, since 1985. It is more salubrious because it actually rains here! Some think it rains a bit too much, but I definitely enjoy drinkable water falling from the skies, as opposed to living in a dustbowl.

Ancestry

For information about those from whom I inherited my excellent chromosomes, please see My Family Genealogy page!

My ancestry is a bit of a mixed bag -- possibly like many other Americans. I am 9/16th German, 1/4th English, 1/8th French and 1/16th American Indian. This is calculated based on the nationality of all my great great grandparents.

Profession

I'm a computer programmer by trade, and my interests include participating in online Q&A and discussions about computer programming-related subjects.

Alas, I am not necessarily looking for a job as a programmer any longer, since I am now retired! I'll still probably write computer code, however, just for the fun of it.

My skillset can be found in my StackOverflow CV page

Hobbies & Interests

Ham Radio

I am a Ham radio operator.

  • Callsign: WA7MC
  • License class: Amateur Extra.
  • I am also a Volunteer Examiner with the American Radio Relay League (ARRL)

Games

I enjoy playing the online games World of Tanks and World of Warships.

Reading

Reading has always been a favorite pastime. I am primarily interested in

  • Science Fiction
  • Science
  • Military History
  • Technology

Writing

I am trying to turn my interest in writing into a profession for my retirement years -- that ought to be interesting. I currently have two or three science fiction novels "in" me. One of them lends itself to a trilogy or more. Besides science fiction I also have a non-fiction book planned, in the religion genre.

Actually, I have already published two books, both family memoirs, through my publishing company, Prospect Avenue Books. Yesterday's Sandhills is my sister-in-law Rita's memoir of World War II, and The Bones of My People is my mother-in-law's story of her experiences as a forced laborer in the Soviet Union after World War II. Although I gave the author credit to my mother-in-law, Gertrud Baltutt, the book was ghost-written by me working with a transcript of her telling her story -- and with a lot of help from my late wife, Waltraut.

Science & Technology

  • Space - I enjoy keeping up with space exploration

Military Service

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I am a US Army veteran, serving way back in the distant past, from 1975 to 1983.

Decorations

  • Good Conduct Medal (2 Awards)
  • NCO Professional Development Ribbon with Numeral "1"
  • Overseas Service Ribbon
  • Army Service Ribbon

Military Occupational Specialties

  • 11C - Indirect Fire Crewman - Infantry mortars - C Co. 2nd Bn 39th INF, Ft. Lewis, WA
  • 13F - Fire Support Specialist - Field Artillery forward observer - B Bty 1st Bn 11th FA, Ft. Lewis, WA
  • 26L - Tactical Microwave Equipment Repairer - Microwave radios - AFCENT (Allied Forces Central Europe)

Qualifications:

  • Rifle Expert
  • Hand Grenade Expert
  • LGM - German Language Linguist

Character of and Rank at Discharge

I received an honorable discharge in 1983 at the rank of Sergeant (E-5).

Various Anecdotes

With the Navy and the Marines

During my service with the 2nd Bn 29th Infantry, my battalion was transported to Camp Pendleton, California, a US Marine Corps base, for amphibious training. We boarded the USS Paul Revere (APA-248) for the voyage south from the Puget Sound Naval Base at Keyport, Washington. As this was my first time aboard a US Navy ship under way, I greatly enjoyed the trip! Except for the sea-sickness. While I did not end up "feeding the fishes" (via vomiting), I spent much of the voyage feeling quite queasy. My company, C Company, was billeted in the forward part of the ship in the bow, apparently at or below the water-line. Naturally, being at the bow meant that we were constantly going up and down as the ship ploughed through the water. And it was cold!

My favorite part of the journey was near the beginning, when I decided to see if I could visit the ship's bridge. It was night-time, and we were heading out of the Puget Sound via the Strait of Juan de Fuca. I climbed the stairs that led up to the starboard lookout's station and chatted with the sailor on duty there for a time. When I asked him if he thought I might be allowed to go into the bridge, he said that technically I would need permission, but since it was dark inside there, if I was very quiet and stayed out of the way, I might get away with it. So I entered the bridge and stood in the corner for some time, just watching and listening the quiet activity of those who were supposed to be there. There was a radar console near an unoccupied station chair, and once I went forward to view it, making sure I kept my hands to myself, then returning to the corner. At some time after I had looked at the radar console, the ship's captain came into the bridge (the officer in charge acknowledging this by calling out "Captain on deck!" to which he immediately responded "As you were!"). The captain sat down on the station chair next to the radar console, and from time to time he fiddled with the controls of the radar display to show different views. After probably an hour standing there watching all this, I left and went back down to our berthing area.

The training at Camp Pendleton included using the various weapons ranges at the camp, learning what kind of missions the US Marines were supposed to perform, and so on. The culmination of all this was an actual amphibious landing made by the battalion! Unfortunately, I did not participate in this, having been assigned to drive a jeep for the rear-echelon elements. The reason for this was because I was my platoon leader's driver at the time, and the landing did not include my weapons platoon's vehicles. So I missed out on that! The amphibious landing was conducted out of the US Navy's USS Ogden (LPD-5). One interesting event occurring during the landing was the loss of one my platoon's mortar tubes, which went into the sea while being transferred to a landing craft for the exercise. Apparently the sailors attaching it to the rope for lowering failed to securely tie it to the tube, and it went into the water. A subsequent search by naval divers failed to recover it.

When the training at Camp Pendleton was concluded, the USS Ogden carried us back to Washington state. This ship was quite amazing to me, and I really liked the "cruise" from Southern California to Washington. Among other things, the food was much superior to that on board the Paul Revere, and the Ogden was much more stable while underway. I did not suffer any queasiness during the trip back. This was some time during 1978, I believe. Much later, on 21 February 2007, the Ogden came to the end of its service life and was decommissioned. In 2014 it performed its last service by being used for target practice during RIMPAC. It was sunk in a SINKEX, an interesting term meaning "sinking exercise", by the Republic of (South) Korea Navy submarine Lee Sun Sin (SS-68) and the Royal Norwegian Navy ship HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen (F310). The Lee Sun Sin put a Harpoon missile into her, followed by the Nansen with a Naval Strike Missile. This was recorded and is available for viewing on YouTube, showing the Ogden taking its final port-call, in Davy Jones' Locker.

Association Memberships

I'm a member of the American Legion, the American Radio Relay League, and the National Rifle Association.

Politics

Politically I am a libertarian-leaning Republican. I used to be a card-carrying member of the Libertarian Party, but since practically the only thing that party has ever done is to elect Democrats, I don't carry the card any longer, and I vote for the best Republican in a given race. Although I have very rarely voted for excellent Democrats, since they don't seem to have any of that type any longer, that hasn't happened in a LONG time.

I've been a bit more politically-active than most people, and have run for public office twice. The first time I stood for election was to be on the City Council of my home city, Olympia. I lost, 43% to 57%. The second time was for Washington state's Senate, and I lost badly, with about 5% of the vote. I have to explain that I ran as a Libertarian Party candidate in a district which would elect a yellow dog, as long as that dog was running as a Democrat. My Republican Party opponent only got 15% of the vote, so you can see what I was up against.

Although I've lost both contested elections I've run for, I have "won" office as a Republican Party precinct committee officer (PCO). This means that I have been a member of the Republican Party Central Committee in my county. Oh, and yes, when Mitt Romney ran for President of the US, I was a Romney delegate to the Republican Party state nominating convention. That was fun!

I doubt I'm going to do anything more in politics, however. Except vote. And spout off my opinions!

Family

For the last quarter of 2015 I was a widower, and on into the first quarter of 2016. My wife Waltraut passed away due to cancer on 21 September 2015. We had just passed our 35th wedding anniversary when it happened. I want everyone to know about her: Waltraut Clark.

We were both each other's second spouse, and our children consist of 12 of the hers, mine and our varieties. And while her children before we married each other are technically my stepchildren, I don't generally like the "step" part of it, and consider them mine, too. Since my sweetie was a bit older than I, and had her first child at a bit younger age than I did, my oldest (step) son is old enough to be a younger brother to me! But I love it, because that means that his five children are my adult grandchildren! It's a generation-bender, but I get the biggest kick out of it! My oldest grandson is currently pursuing a doctorate in mathematics at Purdue University, and one of his younger brothers is doing the same at University of California at San Diego. They're brilliant, and I would love to claim them as my own. So I do!

Around Christmastime of 2015, against all expectation, I came to be acquainted with a very wonderful woman who lives in the United Kingdom (England), and after a surprisingly rapid "falling" in love, she came to the United States and on 3 March 2016 we were married! I want everyone to know about her, too: Wendy Knight

Religion

I'm a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes referred to incorrectly as the Mormon Church, and I've been a member since 1966. I have a very strong testimony of Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the Redeemer of mankind.

I served as a full-time missionary for the Church from 1972-1974 in Germany. As a result, I speak German as my second language. Since my late wife Waltraut was born in Germany, this was convenient, since we had a common "secret" language we could speak with one another in a crowd. My present wife, Wendy, wants to learn German, so we should be able to have a second language between us eventually, too! One of Wendy's goals is to some time serve a mission for the LDS Church at its temple in Switzerland, and this is her reason for learning German.

My LDS Profile

I've contributed my feelings about the LDS Church to Mormon.org. See my profile here: http://mormon.org/me/1F75/