Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Black Navy veteran to get medal for heric WWII actions


A black Navy veteran credited with saving the lives of some of his shipmates during a World War II battle will be getting a long-awaited medal for his heroism, a Northern California congresswoman said.

Carl Clark, 95, will be awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with the Combat Distinguished Device on Jan. 17, U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo announced Thursday.

Clark was serving as an E-6 Steward First Class aboard the USS Aaron Ward when Japanese kamikazes attacked the destroyer near Okinawa in May 1945.

"They would guide those planes directly into the ships," Clark said of the planes he described as "flying bombs." Six kamikazes hit the destroyer, with the blast from one plane so powerful that Clark said it blew him "all the way across the ship."

Though he suffered a broken collarbone in the attack, Clark was credited with saving the lives of several men by dragging them to safety. He also put out a fire in an ammunition locker that, according to Eshoo's office, would have cracked the destroyer in half.

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