Sunday, July 30, 2017

WW2 Fallen - Saipan Navy Cross hero Thomas Clarke, 4th Marine Division

Captain Thomas Clarke lead his company in the Battle of Saipan and was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross. 
Thomas E. Clarke never had a chance to reach 100 years old today. Instead, he sacrificed his life for our freedom.

He was born on July 30, 1917 in Iowa. His parents were also both born in Iowa. His father's parents were born in Ireland. His father worked as a bank teller and later as an auditor for Sears Roebuck. Thomas had two younger brothers.

He enlisted in the Marines on March 1, 1941. He decided to become an officer and was commissioned a Marine Corps 2nd lieutenant in June 1941. He was promoted to 1st lieutenant in June 1942 and was on station on Midway Island during the Battle of Midway. In October he was promoted to Captain and was stationed in Hawaii. He was sent back to the United States for more officer training and in July 1943 he became the commanding officer of Company C, 1st Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, 4th Marine Division.

On June 15, 1944 Company C landed on Yellow Beach Two on the first day of the invasion on Saipan. Captain Clarke was killed in action on June 19, 1944. He was award the Navy Cross for his extraordinary heroism during the five days he commanded Charlie Company.

Captain Clarke's Navy Cross citation said:

Courageously leading his company in the assault operations, Captain Clarke directed the expedition's clearing out of firmly-entrenched enemy gun positions along the beaches and, reorganizing the company, led it across an open field under extremely intense artillery fire which inflicted heavy casualties and completely disorganized his men. Although knocked down several times by artillery blasts nearby, he successfully guided his company across the field and again reorganized it to continue the attack to the initial objective. Subsequently, by his fearless conduct in directing his forces from exposed positions along the front lines, he enabled his men to repulse a fierce enemy counterattack. On 19 June, when his company was held up by devastating hostile mortar and automatic weapons fire during an attack on Japanese caves, Captain Clarke unhesitatingly moved out front to procure tanks to assist the advance and was mortally wounded. His brilliant leadership, indomitable fighting spirit and tenacious devotion to duty were an inspiration to his men and in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

His grave is at Glendale Cemetery in Des Moines, Iowa.

Thank you Thomas for your sacrifice. Let's Earn It for Thomas.

On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!

To mark having over 100,000 visits to my project to honor the fallen of WW2 on their 100th birthdate, I created this video to share.

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