Difference between revisions of "Mike Clark's Military Service"

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''Back to [[About_Me#Military_Service|About Me]]''
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'''''Back to [[About_Me#Military_Service|About Me]]'''''
  
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==My Family's Military Tradition==
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[[File:Family Military History.jpg|thumb|Four generations of military service]]
 
There has been a tradition of military service in my family which goes back a few generations:
 
There has been a tradition of military service in my family which goes back a few generations:
  
 
* My father, Don Clark, was a US Marine and a reserve US Airman
 
* My father, Don Clark, was a US Marine and a reserve US Airman
* His father, Canby Clark, was a US Navy sailor
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* His father, Canby Clark, was a US Navy sailor, who, among other assignments, served on the [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Vestal USS Vestal]
* His father, John Clark, was a soldier during the Spanish-American War.
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* His father, my great grandfather John Clark, was a soldier of the 6th California Volunteer Infantry during the Spanish-American War.
* My great-great-grandfather, Christian Stoltzmann, served in the 8th Illinois Infantry (on the Union side) during the Civil War.
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* My great great grandfather, Christian Stoltzmann, served in the 8th Illinois Infantry (on the Union side) during the Civil War. Unfortunately, there are no photographs of him in his uniform.
  
 
As for my generation, my brother Mark served in the US Air Force for ten years until medically retired, and I spent eight years in the US Army.
 
As for my generation, my brother Mark served in the US Air Force for ten years until medically retired, and I spent eight years in the US Army.
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 +
A fuller explanation of my family's history in connection with military service can be found in an entry on my blog, titled '''[https://cyberherbalist.co/2017/07/04/the-flag-in-front-of-my-house/ The Flag in Front of My House]'''.
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==My Military History==
  
 
I enlisted in the US Army in December 1975, initially for four years as an Indirect Fire Crewman (Infantry mortars), but later transferred to the Field Artillery as a Fire Support Specialist (forward observer). Upon re-enlisting, I changed to an occupational specialty better suited to a post-military career, that of Microwave Equipment Repairer. This featured a year-long school, not learning how to repair microwave ovens, but rather microwave communications equipment. Upon completion of the school (during which I met and married my wife [[Waltraut Clark|Waltraut]]), I was assigned to Allied Forces Central Europe (AFCENT), to serve in Germany on that organization's new microwave communications backbone, known as CIP-67 (Communications Improvement Program 67). I can't be certain, but I supposed that "67" referred to the year that they began planning the project -- but it wasn't finished until just after I arrived, in 1980, and not activated until 1982.
 
I enlisted in the US Army in December 1975, initially for four years as an Indirect Fire Crewman (Infantry mortars), but later transferred to the Field Artillery as a Fire Support Specialist (forward observer). Upon re-enlisting, I changed to an occupational specialty better suited to a post-military career, that of Microwave Equipment Repairer. This featured a year-long school, not learning how to repair microwave ovens, but rather microwave communications equipment. Upon completion of the school (during which I met and married my wife [[Waltraut Clark|Waltraut]]), I was assigned to Allied Forces Central Europe (AFCENT), to serve in Germany on that organization's new microwave communications backbone, known as CIP-67 (Communications Improvement Program 67). I can't be certain, but I supposed that "67" referred to the year that they began planning the project -- but it wasn't finished until just after I arrived, in 1980, and not activated until 1982.
  
I served a three-year tour in Germany, and considered remaining in the Army as a career, but because my family had grown considerably (due to my new stepchildren, and our three new children) Waltraut and I decided that it would be best for me to return to the US as a civilian, where we could settle down and raise our family in one place.  Accordingly, I was honorably discharged in December 1983, and we moved to Washington state.
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I served a three-year tour in Germany, and considered remaining in the Army as a career, but because my family had grown considerably (due to my new stepchildren, and our three new children) Waltraut and I decided that it would be best for me to return to the US as a civilian, where we could settle down and raise our family in one place.  Accordingly, I was honorably discharged in December 1983, and we moved to Washington state. Rather than leave the service entirely, however, I re-enlisted in the US Army Ready Reserve for one term of service. No duties were required of me, of course.
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===Military Memories===
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For a few anecdotes of my Army service, see: [[Military Memories]]
  
 
Some of the details of my military service are found below.
 
Some of the details of my military service are found below.
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[[File:RibbonBar.png|300px|thumb]]
 
[[File:RibbonBar.png|300px|thumb]]
[[File:QualBadges.png|125px|thumb]]
 
  
* Good Conduct Medal (2 Awards)
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* '''Good Conduct Medal''' (2 Awards) - The Army Good Conduct Medal is awarded to enlisted soldiers completing three years active service, with subsequent three year "hitches" being indicated by "knots", also called "hitches," attached to the medal's ribbon, or the ribbon bar. Since I completed two three-year hitches, I was awarded the medal twice. It's called "Good Conduct" because it means the soldier was not formally disciplined for misconduct during the period for which it was awarded.
* NCO Professional Development Ribbon with Numeral "1"
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* '''NCO Professional Development Ribbon''' with Numeral "1" - The NCO Professional Development Ribbon (established in 1981) is issued by the U.S. Army for completion of any prescribed non-commissioned officer development courses. The first award of the NCO Professional Development Ribbon, designated by the numeral "1," is issued for completion of the course now known as the Basic Leader Course. The course that I completed was known at the time as the "Primary NCO Course for Combat Arms," "PNCOC/CA," having the nickname "P-Knock".
* Army Service Ribbon
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* '''Army Service Ribbon''' - the Army Service Ribbon is awarded to all members of the Regular (Active) Army, and Army National Guard and United States Army Reserve in an active reserve status, for successful completion of initial-entry training (Basic Combat Training).
* Overseas Service Ribbon
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* '''Overseas Service Ribbon''' - The Army Overseas Service Ribbon is presented to any member of the United States Army who completes a standard overseas tour of duty.
  
 
===Military Occupational Specialties===
 
===Military Occupational Specialties===
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===Qualifications:===
 
===Qualifications:===
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[[File:QualBadges.png|125px|thumb]]
  
 
* Rifle Expert
 
* Rifle Expert
 
* Hand Grenade Expert
 
* Hand Grenade Expert
 
* LGM - German Language Linguist
 
* LGM - German Language Linguist
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 +
Although my initial Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) was in infantry mortars, I never had the opportunity to test for the mortar qualification badge. About the time my mortar section started to practice for the test, I was detached to our battalion headquarters to serve as a driver/radio-telephone operator. I spent a year doing that before standing before the promotion board for the rank of sergeant. When I was finally promoted and relieved from my attachment, returning to my mortar section as a squad leader, my unit never again conducted qualification tests for the mortar. A year later and I was in the field artillery.
  
 
===Assignments===
 
===Assignments===
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*** C Co., 2nd Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment [[File:39inf.png|50px]]
 
*** C Co., 2nd Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment [[File:39inf.png|50px]]
 
*** B Bty., 1st Battalion, 11th Field Artillery Regiment [[File:11FA.png|50px]]
 
*** B Bty., 1st Battalion, 11th Field Artillery Regiment [[File:11FA.png|50px]]
* US Army Element, Allied Forces Central Europe (USAE AFCENT) [[File:AFCENTInsignia.png|50px]]
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* Allied Forces Central Europe (AFCENT) [[File:AFCENTInsignia.png|50px]]
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** US Army Element (USAE)
 
** Central Region Signal Group
 
** Central Region Signal Group
  
 
===Training and Schools===
 
===Training and Schools===
  
* Basic Combat Training: Fort Knox, Kentucky
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* Basic Combat Training (BCT): Fort Knox, Kentucky
* Advanced Infantry Training: Fort Polk, Louisiana  
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* Advanced Infantry Training (AIT): Fort Polk, Louisiana  
* Primary Non-commissioned Officers Course / Combat Arms: Fort Lewis, Washington
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* Primary Non-commissioned Officers Course / Combat Arms (PNCOC/CA): Fort Lewis, Washington
 
* US Army Signal School: Fort Gordon, Georgia
 
* US Army Signal School: Fort Gordon, Georgia
  
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I received an honorable discharge in 1983 at the rank of Sergeant (E-5).
 
I received an honorable discharge in 1983 at the rank of Sergeant (E-5).
 
[[File:ArmySGT.png|50px]]
 
[[File:ArmySGT.png|50px]]
 
===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 [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Paul_Revere_(APA-248) 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 [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Ogden_(LPD-5) 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 [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_of_Korea_Navy#/media/File:ROKS_Lee_Sunsin_(SS_068)_arrives_at_Naval_Station_Pearl_Harbor.jpg Lee Sun Sin (SS-68)] and the Royal Norwegian Navy ship [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HNoMS_Fridtjof_Nansen_(F310) 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 [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCtOB7uGrPo available for viewing] on YouTube, showing the Ogden taking its final port-call, in Davy Jones' Locker.
 

Latest revision as of 14:04, 4 July 2021

Back to About Me

My Family's Military Tradition

Four generations of military service

There has been a tradition of military service in my family which goes back a few generations:

  • My father, Don Clark, was a US Marine and a reserve US Airman
  • His father, Canby Clark, was a US Navy sailor, who, among other assignments, served on the USS Vestal
  • His father, my great grandfather John Clark, was a soldier of the 6th California Volunteer Infantry during the Spanish-American War.
  • My great great grandfather, Christian Stoltzmann, served in the 8th Illinois Infantry (on the Union side) during the Civil War. Unfortunately, there are no photographs of him in his uniform.

As for my generation, my brother Mark served in the US Air Force for ten years until medically retired, and I spent eight years in the US Army.

A fuller explanation of my family's history in connection with military service can be found in an entry on my blog, titled The Flag in Front of My House.

My Military History

I enlisted in the US Army in December 1975, initially for four years as an Indirect Fire Crewman (Infantry mortars), but later transferred to the Field Artillery as a Fire Support Specialist (forward observer). Upon re-enlisting, I changed to an occupational specialty better suited to a post-military career, that of Microwave Equipment Repairer. This featured a year-long school, not learning how to repair microwave ovens, but rather microwave communications equipment. Upon completion of the school (during which I met and married my wife Waltraut), I was assigned to Allied Forces Central Europe (AFCENT), to serve in Germany on that organization's new microwave communications backbone, known as CIP-67 (Communications Improvement Program 67). I can't be certain, but I supposed that "67" referred to the year that they began planning the project -- but it wasn't finished until just after I arrived, in 1980, and not activated until 1982.

I served a three-year tour in Germany, and considered remaining in the Army as a career, but because my family had grown considerably (due to my new stepchildren, and our three new children) Waltraut and I decided that it would be best for me to return to the US as a civilian, where we could settle down and raise our family in one place. Accordingly, I was honorably discharged in December 1983, and we moved to Washington state. Rather than leave the service entirely, however, I re-enlisted in the US Army Ready Reserve for one term of service. No duties were required of me, of course.

Military Memories

For a few anecdotes of my Army service, see: Military Memories

Some of the details of my military service are found below.

Decorations

RibbonBar.png
  • Good Conduct Medal (2 Awards) - The Army Good Conduct Medal is awarded to enlisted soldiers completing three years active service, with subsequent three year "hitches" being indicated by "knots", also called "hitches," attached to the medal's ribbon, or the ribbon bar. Since I completed two three-year hitches, I was awarded the medal twice. It's called "Good Conduct" because it means the soldier was not formally disciplined for misconduct during the period for which it was awarded.
  • NCO Professional Development Ribbon with Numeral "1" - The NCO Professional Development Ribbon (established in 1981) is issued by the U.S. Army for completion of any prescribed non-commissioned officer development courses. The first award of the NCO Professional Development Ribbon, designated by the numeral "1," is issued for completion of the course now known as the Basic Leader Course. The course that I completed was known at the time as the "Primary NCO Course for Combat Arms," "PNCOC/CA," having the nickname "P-Knock".
  • Army Service Ribbon - the Army Service Ribbon is awarded to all members of the Regular (Active) Army, and Army National Guard and United States Army Reserve in an active reserve status, for successful completion of initial-entry training (Basic Combat Training).
  • Overseas Service Ribbon - The Army Overseas Service Ribbon is presented to any member of the United States Army who completes a standard overseas tour of duty.

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:

QualBadges.png
  • Rifle Expert
  • Hand Grenade Expert
  • LGM - German Language Linguist

Although my initial Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) was in infantry mortars, I never had the opportunity to test for the mortar qualification badge. About the time my mortar section started to practice for the test, I was detached to our battalion headquarters to serve as a driver/radio-telephone operator. I spent a year doing that before standing before the promotion board for the rank of sergeant. When I was finally promoted and relieved from my attachment, returning to my mortar section as a squad leader, my unit never again conducted qualification tests for the mortar. A year later and I was in the field artillery.

Assignments

  • Fort Lewis, Washington
    • 9th Infantry Division 9thInfantryDivisionOctofoil.png
      • C Co., 2nd Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment 39inf.png
      • B Bty., 1st Battalion, 11th Field Artillery Regiment 11FA.png
  • Allied Forces Central Europe (AFCENT) AFCENTInsignia.png
    • US Army Element (USAE)
    • Central Region Signal Group

Training and Schools

  • Basic Combat Training (BCT): Fort Knox, Kentucky
  • Advanced Infantry Training (AIT): Fort Polk, Louisiana
  • Primary Non-commissioned Officers Course / Combat Arms (PNCOC/CA): Fort Lewis, Washington
  • US Army Signal School: Fort Gordon, Georgia

Character of and Rank at Discharge

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