Chuck Clark grew up with my dad in Napa, California in the 1950s.
Like so many young men during that time, he was drafted into service. He took Basic in March 1967 at Ft. Polk, Louisiana. He completed his Advanced Individual Training (AIT) at Ft. Gordon, Georgia before being stationed in Germany.
"I thought I had dodged a bullet by being in Germany," Clark nervously chuckles, but on 4 June, 1968 he landed in Vietnam where he remained until 31 May, 1969.
Having been a friend of Chuck for a very long time, I know that Vietnam still haunts him and still affects his buddies over 50 years later. In this photo, he is 22 years old on a MACV Base in Ham Tan in the Bien Tuy Province. He was on the Advisory Team 48.
He finished his last 8 months of service at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina and returned to California.
After moving to Colorado he began work in 2006 at the Air Force Academy as a carpenter and member of the Rapid Response Team. He retired in 2014 and now happily hunts and fishes whenever he can. He resides in Falcon.
Chuck did not receive a Purple Heart for his intense injuries sustained in war, but the Army did give him this lighter when he and his team left Ham Tan, like many of the others that survived their time there. The biggest award was life.
We appreciate the sacrifices of Chuck and all of our Vietnam Veterans this month for Military Appreciation Month and every day during the year. So many outstanding sacrifices. For men and women like Chuck, let's raise a glass in thanks.
Here's to Chuck!