Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cherokee Indian Naval Aviator Number ONE

Admiral Clark was born in Pryor, Oklahoma, on 12 November 1893, son of Cherokee Indian William A. Clark and Lillie Berry Clark. He attended Willie Halsell College, Vinita, Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College, at Stillwater; and graduated from the US Naval Academy with the class of 1918 in June 1917. He was the first Native American graduate of the naval Academy. He was the first Cherokee Indian to be designated a naval aviator.

More on the Admiral HERE.

This is one extraordinary individual.  In 1952 he was commander of U.S. SEVENTH Fleet.  Admiral Clark was an honorary chief by both the Sioux and Cherokee nations. He died 13 July 1971 at the Naval Hospital, St. Albans, New York, and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. 

In addition to the Navy Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal with Gold Star, the Legion of Merit, the Silver Star Medal, the Commendation Ribbon, and the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon with two stars, Rear Admiral Clark has the Victory Medal, Escort Clasp (USS North Carolina), and is entitled to the American Defense Service Medal with Bronze "A" (for service in the old USS Yorktown which operated in actual or potential belligerent contact with the Axis Forces in the Atlantic Ocean prior to December 7, 1941); the European-African-Middle Eastern Area Campaign Medal with one bronze star; the Asiatic-Pacific Area Campaign Medal with twelve bronze stars; the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one bronze star; and the World War II Victory Medal.

November is the Navy's focus month for Native Americans.  Nice to learn more about our Native American heritage.

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