May 2018: John Allen Clark
US Navy, Vietnam 1965-1968 / 1975-1993
Born on 14 May 1947 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, John Allen Clark enlisted in the U.S. Navy on June 10, 1965. He was honorably discharged in December 1968 and then attended Boyce Community College to study computer science. Bitten by the travel bug, he moved to Australia where he spent 5 years working in the printing business. While there, he enjoyed an extended 3-month African safari. In 1975 he returned to the United States and reenlisted in the Navy. This time he worked as a submariner where his duties included sonar watches, admin, and radio. He earned his submarine qualification pin onboard USS Von Steuben (SSBN 632) in 1978. Fortunately, his career in the Navy fed his love of travel: he spent his 40th birthday at the North Pole in 1987 where it was a balmy 3 degrees, and he was stationed at McMurdo Station, Antarctica in 1991. To this day, he remains one of the few to earn both the Arctic and Antarctica Service Medals. In 1993 he retired out of Charleston, South Carolina after 23 years of service.
In addition to the aforementioned pin and medals, he also earned the following: the Navy Achievement Medal w/Gold Star, 4 Good Conduct Medals, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal w/Device, National Defense Service Medal w/Bronze Star, Navy Unit Commendation Medal, 2 Navy “E” Ribbons, SSBN Deterrent Patrol Pin w/Silver Star, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Humanitarian Service Medal, Expert Pistol Medal, Expert Rifle Medal, and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon w/2 Bronze Stars.
After his retirement, he enjoyed an 11-year career as a license examiner at the Department of Motor Vehicles in South Carolina. To be closer to family, he moved to Montana and drove a school bus for a year. After reuniting with Carla, the love of his life, who worked as a civilian on the Millington Navy Base, he moved to Atoka in 2013; and they were married. They attend First United Methodist Church in Millington. John is a Life Member of VFW Post 4840, a member of the American Legion Post 67 in Atoka, and a Life Member of the Submarine Veterans in Millington.
John was nominated for Veteran of the Month by Sharon Stubblefield, a fellow line dancer at the Tipton County Commission on Aging.