Mike Clark's Military Service

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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.

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.

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.

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


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


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


  • 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

Military Memories

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