Francis J Clark MOH

b. 22/04/1912 Whitehall, New York. d. 20/10/1981 Salem, Washington.

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 17/09/1944 near Kalborn, Luxembourg and near Sevenig, Germany.

Francis J Clark MOH

Clark was born April 22, 1912, in Whitehall, New York. While not much has been published about his early life, records show he was working as a woodworker when he was drafted into the Army in March 1942. Two and a half years later, he was fighting across the European continent with Company K in the 28th ID’s 109th Infantry.

On Sept. 12, 1944, two platoons in his company were crossing the Our River near Kalborn, Luxembourg, to get to higher ground on the other side. Thanks to an early morning fog, Clark and his platoon safely made it across. The fog lifted by the time the second platoon reached shore, though, and they were hit by gunfire, which killed the two men in charge and pinned the rest down.

Clark saw what was happening and crawled across a field riddled with gunfire to reach the stuck platoon. He led the survivors to safety, then turned around and went back to rescue a wounded soldier, all while enemy gunfire continued to try to cut him down.

Later, Clark led his squad and the men from the rescued platoon “in dangerous sorties against strong enemy positions to weaken them by lightning-like jabs,” the citation read. During this time, Clark killed two enemy machine gunners with hand grenades. He continued to put himself in danger, running toward the fight, killing and wounding several enemies, scattering German patrols and eventually forcing a full company of heavily armed Germans to withdraw.

Five days later, on Sept. 17, Clark’s unit had moved northeast and across the border into Sevenig, Germany. Clark single-handedly killed an enemy machine gunner and forced another to flee before the Germans came at them hard, taking out a lot of the soldiers in Company K. Seeing that they were left without leadership, Clark stepped up and took command. He was wounded the next day, but he refused to be evacuated.

By daybreak on the 19th, Clark managed to kill three more Germans, one of whom was trying to set up a machine gun only five yards away. Later that day, he braved more gunfire to deliver food and water to an isolated U.S. platoon. Clark assumed leadership when it was desperately needed. His actions were essential to keeping up the spirits of the hard-hit troops of Company K.

For his efforts, Clark received the Medal of Honor from President Harry S. Truman on Aug. 23, 1945, during a White House ceremony that included several other recipients. Clark brought his wife and mother to the event.

After the war, Clark left the Army and moved back to where he entered service — Salem, New York. He farmed and worked at a furniture factory and eventually became active in local politics, serving a few different positions in his town and county. Clark was 69 when he died in October 1981. He was buried in Salem at Evergreen Cemetery.



He fought gallantly in Luxembourg and Germany. On 12 September 1944, Company K began fording the Our River near Kalborn, Luxembourg, to take high ground on the opposite bank. Covered by early morning fog, the 3d Platoon, in which T/Sgt. Clark was squad leader, successfully negotiated the crossing; but when the 2d Platoon reached the shore, withering automatic and small-arms fire ripped into it, eliminating the platoon leader and platoon sergeant and pinning down the troops in the open. From his comparatively safe position, T/Sgt. Clark crawled alone across a field through a hail of bullets to the stricken troops. He led the platoon to safety and then unhesitatingly returned into the fire-swept area to rescue a wounded soldier, carrying him to the American line while hostile gunners tried to cut him down. Later, he led his squad and men of the 2d Platoon in dangerous sorties against strong enemy positions to weaken them by lightning-like jabs. He assaulted an enemy machinegun with hand grenades, killing 2 Germans. He roamed the front and flanks, dashing toward hostile weapons, killing and wounding an undetermined number of the enemy, scattering German patrols and, eventually, forcing the withdrawal of a full company of Germans heavily armed with automatic weapons. On 17 September, near Sevenig, Germany, he advanced alone against an enemy machinegun, killed the gunner and forced the assistant to flee. The Germans counterattacked, and heavy casualties were suffered by Company K. Seeing that 2 platoons lacked leadership, T/Sgt. Clark took over their command and moved among the men to give encouragement. Although wounded on the morning of 18 September, he refused to be evacuated and took up a position in a pillbox when night came. Emerging at daybreak, he killed a German soldier setting up a machinegun not more than 5 yards away. When he located another enemy gun, he moved up unobserved and killed 2 Germans with rifle fire. Later that day he voluntarily braved small-arms fire to take food and water to members of an isolated platoon. T/Sgt. Clark’s actions in assuming command when leadership was desperately needed, in launching attacks and beating off counterattacks, in aiding his stranded comrades, and in fearlessly facing powerful enemy fire, were strikingly heroic examples and put fighting heart into the hard-pressed men of Company K.