CLARK, ROBERT ALAN Lt. Alan "Arlo" Clark
Remains Identified. Burial 01/09/2004 Arlington National Cemetery.
Name: Robert Alan Clark Rank/Branch: O2/US Navy Unit: Attack Squadron 115, USS MIDWAY Date of Birth: 21 September 1946 Home City of Record: North Hollywood CA Date of Loss: 10 January 1973 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 185948N 1051836E (WG327003) Status (in 1973): Missing in Action Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A6A Refno: 1979 Other Personnel in Incident: Michael T. McCormick (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project with the assistance of one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews: 01 January 1990. Updated with information provided by Dave Anderson. P.O.W. NETWORK 2004
SYNOPSIS: Lt. Michael T. McCormick was a pilot and Lt.JG Robert A. Clark a bombardier/navigator assigned to Attack Squadron 115 onboard the aircraft carrier USS MIDWAY (CVA-41). On January 10, 1973, 17 days before an agreement was signed in Paris ending American involvement in the war in Southeast Asia, McCormick and Clark launched in their A6A "Intruder" attack aircraft. Together with another A6 aircraft, they were to provide support for B52 air strikes, and had three targets assigned to them over North Vietnam.
The weather that day was overcast with a 1500 foot cloud cover. There was intense surface-to-air (SAM) missile activity in their target area, and an estimated total of 15 missiles were fired - three at the USS Midway aircraft and 12 at the B52s. The crew of another aircraft reported that he did not think the missiles were aimed at him. The boosters of the missiles were diffused by the overcast, which proved to be very distracting. On egress the crewman noted additional SAM boosters along with the glow from the B52 bomb strikes. He coasted out over the coast and planned to orbit there until McCormick and Clark crossed the coastline to join him.
When McCormick and Clark did not arrive, and there was no radio contact, the wingman retraced his route at an altitude of 15,000 feet while making numerous radio calls. No fires were seen and no enemy reaction was noted. Other aircraft crewmembers thought they heard a 3-4 second transmission that sounded like an ECM (emergency transmission), but Search and Rescue (SAR) missions were flown in the area with no contact and no crash location or wreckage found.
McCormick and Clark were last known to be over Nghe An Province, about 20 miles west of the city of Phu Dien Chau. Both men were placed in Missing in Action status. Other than the brief radio signal, no sign of either man was ever found.
Because of the circumstances surrounding the downing of this aircraft, and the fact that the area was heavily defended, the U.S. believes there is good reason to suspect that the Vietnamese know the fates of McCormick and Clark. The Vietnamese, however, deny any knowledge of them.
Mounting evidence indicates that Americans are being held prisoner in Southeast Asia today. As long as even one American remains alive, held unjustly and against his will, we owe him our best effort to bring him home. McCormick and Clark could be among those thought to be alive. What must they be thinking of their country?
From - Tue Jul 14 07:11:12 1998
I was a veteran of the air war over North Viet Nam and took an interest in the POW NET biographies page of your site.
I was acquainted with a number of officers at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island who manned the A-6A squadrons deployed on Pacific Fleet carriers. I deployed with Attack Squadron ONE FOUR FIVE (VA-145) on the USS RANGER just prior to the start of LINEBACKER II. I knew, for a time, several men on the POW/MIA list; Fred Holmes, Harry Mossman, Rod Lester, and Bob Randall. I lived across the street from Robert (Al) Clark who was lost just weeks before the cease fire. He left behind a son that he never saw. It is known by many in Naval Aviation that Al had a distant connection with the basis for the opening scene in the movie, "Flight of the Intruder." Al's pilot on the night they were shot down was Mike McCormick. Several months before being lost, Mike had flown a mission with LCDR Ray Donnelly. Ray died from a round from a large automatic weapon that struck the cockpit and hit him. Mike brought him back to the USS MIDWAY for what must have been the hardest night landing in Naval Aviation history.
Sometimes it seems that the absolute best amongst us didn't come home.
Dave Anderson July 1998
No. 014-04 IMMEDIATE RELEASE Jan 09, 2004 (703)697-5131(media) (703)428-0711(public/industry)
Servicemen Missing from Vietnam War Identified
Two servicemen missing in action from the Vietnam War have been identified and returned to their families for burial.
They are Navy Lt. j.g. Robert A. Clark of North Hollywood, Calif., and another officer whose name will not be released at the request of his family.
On Jan. 10, 1973, the two took off in an A-6A aircraft from *USS Midway* on a mission to suppress surface-to-air missiles in North Vietnam. Near the target area in Nghe An Province in North Vietnam, aircrew reported an estimated 15 surface-to-air missiles fired, as well as numerous antiaircraft rounds. Clark's A-6A was not seen again.
Attempts to contact the crew for four days through radio and visual searches were unsuccessful.
In July 1991, U.S. researchers discovered in a Vietnamese military museum a data plate which correlated to the downed aircraft. Later, in another museum, they discovered photos of a crash site which also correlated to the missing aircraft. U.S. researchers examined Vietnamese wartime records which confirmed the downing of that aircraft in Nghe An Province in January 1973.
Between 1993 and 2002, U.S. researchers and joint U.S.-Vietnam teams conducted four field investigations and one excavation. During one of their field visits, a witness to the 1973 crash turned over remains he claimed to have recovered at the site. During the excavation in 2002, additional remains were recovered.
The remains were identified in 2003 by the Central Identification Laboratory [http://www.cilhi.army.mil/] through skeletal analysis and mitochondrial DNA. Of the 88,000 Americans missing in action from all conflicts, 1,871 are from the Vietnam War.
Published: Saturday, February 21, 2004
DNA brings closure Tonya Clark of Lynnwood lost her husband in Vietnam in 1973. Recently she could finally put him to rest.
By Pamela Brice Herald Writer
LYNNWOOD -- Tonya Clark wondered for more than 30 years what had happened to her husband, Alan, who never returned from Vietnam.