Name: Stephen William Clark
Rank/Branch: O3/US Marine Corps
Unit: VMFA 234, MAG 11
Date of Birth: 24 September 1943
Home City of Record: Plymouth CA
Date of Loss: 03 May 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 165504N 1070612E (YD240715)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F8E
Refno: 1158
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 April 1990 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.


SYNOPSIS: The Vought F8 "Crusader" saw action early in U.S. involvement in
Southeast Asia. Its fighter models participated both in the first Gulf of
Tonkin reprisal in August 1964 and in the myriad attacks against North
Vietnam during Operation Rolling Thunder. The Crusader was used exclusively
by the Navy and Marine air wings (although there is one U.S. Air Force pilot
reported shot down on an F8) and represented half or more of the carrier
fighters in the Gulf of Tonkin during the first four years of the war. The
aircraft was credited with nearly 53% of MiG kills in Vietnam.

The most frequently used fighter versions of the Crusader in Vietnam were
the C, D, and E models although the H and J were also used. The Charlie
carried only Sidewinders on fuselage racks, and were assigned such missions
as CAP (Combat Air Patrol), flying at higher altitudes. The Echo model had a
heavier reinforced wing able to carry extra Sidewinders or bombs, and were
used to attack ground targets, giving it increased vulnerability. The Echo
version launched with less fuel, to accommodate the larger bomb store, and
frequently arrived back at ship low on fuel. The RF models were equipped for
photo reconnaissance.

The combat attrition rate of the Crusader was comparable to similar
fighters. Between 1964 to 1972, eighty-three Crusaders were either lost or
destroyed by enemy fire. Another 109 required major rebuilding. 145 Crusader
pilots were recovered; 57 were not. Twenty of these pilots were captured and
released. The other 43 remained missing at the end of the war.

Capt. Stephen W. Clark was the pilot of an F8E conducting a combat mission
near the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in South Vietnam on May 3, 1968. Clark's
aircraft was hit by hostile ground fire, crashed and burned. Little or no
hope of survival existed for Capt. Clark, and he was listed Killed/Body Not
Recovered. Clark is one of nearly 2300 still missing, prisoner, or otherwise
unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing,
prisoner or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S.
Government. Many authorities who have examined this largely classified
information are convinced that hundreds of Americans are still held captive
today. Fighter pilots in Vietnam were called upon to fly in many dangerous
circumstances, and were prepared to be wounded, killed, or captured. It
probably never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country
they proudly served.




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Captain Stephen William Clark, who joined the U.S. Marine Corps from California, served with Marine Fighter Squadron 235, 11th Marine Air Group, 1st Marine Air Wing. On May 3, 1968, piloting an F-8E Crusader (bureau number 149173) he participated in an armed reconnaissance mission over South Vietnam. After take-off, the mission was diverted to Dong Ha, Quang Tri Province for a priority mission supporting friendly ground troops in close contact with the enemy. Captain Clark made an initial run on the target, and as he came out of the pass, the forward air controller (FAC) saw Capt Clark's aircraft hit in the cockpit by enemy machine gun fire (12.7mm / .50 caliber).  The aircraft then made a wings level descent, bounce once, and began to burn after impacting the ground a secont time in the vicinity of (GC) YD 240 715.  The FAC did not see Capt Clark eject from the aircraft. Search and rescue (SAR) attempts were conducted but were unsuccessful due to the enemy presence in the area. Captain Clark is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. 

Based on all information available, DPAA assessed the individual's case to be in the analytical category of Active Pursuit.

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