Mark A. Clark (general)

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Mark A. Clark
Gen Mark A. Clark.jpg
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Marine Corps
Years of service1981–2014
RankMajor General
Commands heldCommander, MARSOC
Battles/warsFirst Gulf War
Operation Deliberate Force
War in Afghanistan
Iraq War
Alma materSouth Dakota State University

Mark A. "Droopy" Clark is a retired U.S. Marine Major General. Clark was the fourth commander of Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC). He retired from the Marine Corps in 2014 upon relinquishing command of MARSOC.

Early life[edit]

Clark is a native of Sioux Falls and was raised in South Dakota and Minnesota. He graduated from South Dakota State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Commercial Economics in 1980.[1] According to a Q&A interview with the SDSU alumni association while Clark was serving as the Chief of Staff of Special Operations Command he said his most memorable moment while attending SDSU was "without a doubt, Hobo Day."[2]

Military career[edit]

Upon completion of Officer Candidate School in June 1981, Clark was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps.[1] Afterwards, he attended Flight School and was designated a Naval Aviator in May 1983.[1] He was assigned to fly the CH-53 Super Stallion after additional training at Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina.[3] He participated in both Operation Desert Storm and Operation Desert Shield.[4] His first involvement with Special Operations came as a result of a pilot exchange program with the U.S. Air Force where Clark was assigned to the 20th Special Operations Squadron operating the MH-53J Pave Low.[3][4] While at the 20th SOS, Clark was deployed in support of Operation Deliberate Force during the Bosnian War. From 2001 to 2002, Clark served as Operations Officer in Task Force K-Bar during the early years of Operation Enduring Freedom.[3] Clark attended the United States Army War College from 2002 to 2003.[1] While a student there, he wrote a 67-page Strategy Research Project titled Should the Marine Corps expand its role in special operations.[5] He was the Director of Operations at United States Special Operations Command from 2009 to 2011.[1] While serving as the Director of Operations in January 2011, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced that Clark was nominated for promotion to Major General.[6][7] In May 2011, he replaced Joseph Votel as SOCOM's Chief of Staff as Votel went off to assume command of Joint Special Operations Command from Admiral William H. McRaven.[8] Clark served as SOCOM's Chief of Staff until August 2012 when he assumed command of Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command from Major General Paul E. Lefebvre[4] He is the first MARSOC commander to have served previously at SOCOM.[4]

Awards and badges[edit]

Navy and Marine Corps Parachutist Insignia
Naval Aviator Badge.jpgNaval Aviator insignia

Defense Superior Service Medal
Legion of Merit
 Bronze Star
 Meritorious Service Medal with one gold star
 Aerial Achievement Medal
 Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medalwith two gold star
 Joint Service Achievement Medal
 Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal
 Combat Action Ribbon with one gold star
 Navy Presidential Unit Citation
 Joint Meritorious Unit Award
 Navy Unit Commendation
 Navy Meritorious Unit Commendationwith one bronze star
 Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
 Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal
 National Defense Service Medal with one bronze star
 Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
 Southwest Asia Service Medal with three bronze star
 Afghanistan Campaign Medal
 Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
 Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
 Armed Forces Service Medal
 Humanitarian Service Medal with one bronze star
 Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with one bronze star
 NATO Medal
 Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)
 Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)

Joint Chiefs of Staff seal.svg Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge
United States Special Operations Command Insignia.svg United States Special Operations Command Badge


  1. ^ a b c d e "MARSOC Leadership Biography". August 29, 2012. Archived from the original on February 15, 2013. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
  2. ^ "Alumni profiles:Mark A. Clark". Archived from the original on 2013-04-03.
  3. ^ a b c "USMC bio: Mark A. Clark". Archived from the original on April 26, 2013. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d J.R. Wilson (October 24, 2012). "Interview with Maj. Gen. Mark A. Clark". Marine Corps Outlook: 2012 Edition. Defense Media Network. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  5. ^ Mark A. Clark (April 7, 2003). "Should the Marine Corps expand its role in special operations?" (PDF). Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  6. ^ "USMC General Officer Announcements: January 2011". Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  7. ^ "11 generals tapped for second star". Jan 28, 2011. Retrieved February 28, 2013.
  8. ^ Howard Altman (Feb 17, 2011). "Special Operations Command Chief of Staff Votel Named to Head JSOC". Archived from the original on March 19, 2012. Retrieved February 28, 2013.