CLARK, JERRY PROSPER
Name: Jerry Prosper Clark Rank/Branch: W1/US Army Unit: 568th Signal Company, 41st Signal Battalion Date of Birth: 08 August 1940 (Pine Bluff AR) Home City of Record: Davenport IA Loss Date: 15 December 1965 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 133834N 1091351E (CR087088) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 2 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: O1D, callsign Cablerunner 26 Refno: 0210 Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
Source: Compiled from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK in 1999, with information from F.L. Newton, Wolfhouse 709.
SYNOPSIS: WO Jerry Prosper Clark was an pilot flying a reconnaissance mission in an O1D aircraft (serial #55-4686). He was returning to Quin Nhon (his home base) from An Khe. Clark experienced an in-flight emergency. A classmate, flying over Phan Thiet overheard the call and recognized his callsign. Clark radioed that he "was on top with a low fuel state and wanted the Quin Nhon NDB frequency." He stated he thought he could make it home. Clark switched frequency after getting a "good luck" from Wolfhouse 709, for further instructions from the Qui Nhon tower.
1Lt. Robert L. Taylor, who was flying a nearby UH1B headed for the Clark's last known location. When Taylor flew over the beach trying to locate Clark, he found wreckage of his aircraft in shallow water near the hamlet of Tuy Phong, about 8 miles south of Qui Nhon. Several aircraft and vessels were dispatched to locate Clark, but no sign of him was found.
When search teams surveilled the crash site, Jerry's survival gear was not found and it was thought that he had been taken prisoner by the North Vietnamese. Stories from villagers differ. In one version Clark left the aircraft, swam to shore, swam back to the aircraft to get a weapon, returned to shore and fled into the hills. Another version says that Clark swam ashore, returned to the aircraft, but was shot by a sniper and fell into the water as though mortally wounded. No proof of either version has been found, nor has Jerry P. Clark.
The O1 Bird Dog was used widely by Army, Air Force and Marine Corps forward air controllers in Southeast Asia. The slower, low-flying craft could locate and mark targets with accuracy not possible by higher flying jets. Although it performed a valuable service, the O1 also lacked adequate armor or self-sealing fuel tanks, its range was short and it carried too few rockets. It was used widely as late as 1968, whereupon the planes passed into the hands of Lao and South Vietnamese airmen.
In the years following the fall of Saigon in 1975, refugees have fled Southeast Asia, bringing with them reports of Americans still alive and in captivity in their homelands. By 1989, the number of these reports topped the 8000 mark. A committee charged with investigating Defense Intelligence Agency, the entity charged with analysis of these reports, concluded that there was a strong possiblity that Americans were being held against their will.
The Reagan administration declared for eight years that the resolution of the POW/MIA issue was one of "highest national priority". President Nixon said the same thing. These words have no meaning to men like Jerry Clark, should he be one of the hundreds still thought to be alive.