Richard D. Clarke

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Richard D. Clarke
Clarke USSOCOM.jpg
Born (1962-07-23) July 23, 1962 (age 57)
Stuttgart, Germany[1]
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Army
Years of service1984–present
Commands heldUnited States Special Operations Command
82nd Airborne Division
75th Ranger Regiment
Battles/warsGulf War
War in Afghanistan
Iraq War
Operation Inherent Resolve
AwardsDefense Distinguished Service Medal
Army Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Defense Superior Service Medal (3)
Legion of Merit (2)
Bronze Star Medal (5)

Richard Douglas Clarke Jr. (born July 23, 1962)[2] is a United States Army four-star general who currently serves as the 12th commander of United States Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. He assumed his current assignment on March 29, 2019. He previously served as Director of Operations, Joint Special Operations Command on Operation Neptune Spear.

Military career[edit]

General Richard D. Clarke currently serves as the 12th Commander of United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida since March 29, 2019.

Clarke was born in West Germany and raised in an Army family. He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, and commissioned into the Infantry Branch in 1984. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from West Point and a Master of Business Administration from Benedictine College. He is a distinguished graduate of the National War College and earned a master's degree in Security and Strategic Studies.

Clarke has led soldiers at all levels in Airborne, Ranger, Mechanized and Light Infantry units in five different divisions, the 173rd Airborne Brigade, and the 75th Ranger Regiment in the United States, Europe, Iraq and Afghanistan. Clarke spent eight years in the 75th Ranger Regiment as a company commander from 1994 to 1996, then as a battalion commander from 2004 to 2006 and regimental commander from 2007 to 2009. He also served as battalion commander of 3rd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division from 2002 to 2004. His most recent assignments include serving as the Director for Strategic Plans and Policy (J5), Joint Staff, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C. from 2017 to 2019. General Clarke's other assignments as a general office include: Deputy Commanding General for Operations, 10th Mountain Division from 2011 to 2013; the 74th Commandant of Cadets, United States Military Academy at West Point from 2013 to 2014; and the Commander of the 82nd Airborne Division from 2014 to 2016.

Clarke's deployments while serving in the aforementioned positions include Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Operation Joint Guardian in Macedonia, three deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, four deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and one deployment as the commander of the Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command – Operation Inherent Resolve.[3]

Awards and decorations[edit]

CIB2.svg Combat Infantryman Badge with Star (denoting 2nd award)
Expert Infantry Badge.svg Expert Infantryman Badge

USAE United States Special Operations Command BT 2010-03-01.pngMaster Parachutist badge (United States).svg Master Parachutist Badge with background trimming
Ranger Tab.svg Ranger tab
USAF - Occupational Badge - High Altitude Low Opening.svg Military Free Fall Parachutist Badge
AirAssault.svg Air Assault Badge
IrishSilver.jpg Irish Parachutist Badge in gold
United States Special Operations Command Insignia.svg United States Special Operations Command Badge
75 Ranger Regiment SCSIB.png 75th Ranger Regiment Combat Service Identification Badge
75th Ranger Regiment Distinctive Unit Insignia.svg 75th Ranger Regiment Distinctive Unit Insignia
ArmyOSB.svg 9 Overseas Service Bars
Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Army Distinguished Service Medal with one bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svg Defense Superior Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svg Bronze Star Medal with four oak leaf clusters
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svg Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Air Medal
Bronze oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svg Army Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Silver oakleaf-3d.svgBronze oakleaf-3d.svg Army Achievement Medal with one silver and one bronze oak leaf clusters
Army Presidential Unit Citation
United States Navy Presidential Unit Citation ribbon.svg Navy Presidential Unit Citation
Valorous Unit Award
Meritorious Unit Commendation ribbon.svg Meritorious Unit Commendation
Bronze star
National Defense Service Medal with one bronze service star
Bronze star
Southwest Asia Service Medal with service star
Bronze star
Afghanistan Campaign Medal with service star
Bronze-service-star-3d-vector.svgBronze-service-star-3d-vector.svgBronze-service-star-3d-vector.svg Iraq Campaign Medal with three service stars
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Armed Forces Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon
Award numeral 5.png Army Overseas Service Ribbon with bronze award numeral 5
United Nations Medal
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia) ribbon.svg Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait) ribbon.svg Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)


  1. ^'s%20BIOdocx.docx
  2. ^ "Register of Graduates and Former Cadets, United States Military Academy". 6 September 1986 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ "General Richard D. Clarke Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command Official Biography" (PDF). Retrieved December 10, 2019.
Military offices
Preceded by
Raymond A. Thomas
Commander, United States Special Operations Command