On November 18, 2022, Kevin Clark of Centennial, Colorado, stopped by the Eisenhower Chapel. He shared the story with us about his father, Colonel Kirk B. Clark, who was a 1962 graduate of the Air Force Academy.
Colonel Clark distinguished himself in the performance of outstanding service to the United States as United States Air Force Academy and Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Admissions Liaison Officer, 9001st Air Reserve Squadron, Lowry Air Force Base, Colorado, from March 1, 1990, to March 15, 1994. Completely on his own initiative, Colonel Clark researched, conceptualized, and developed a minority’s role model/mentoring program designed to motivate quality young minority scholar-leaders to pursue a career in the United States Air Force.
The Aviation Career of CoL Kirk B. Clark (USAF-Ret); USAF Academy Class of 1962 (Red Tag Bastards)
Written by Kirk B. Clark and Kevin J. Clark
Kirk B. Clark was born on October 16, 1940, in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He attended Memorial High School (Class of 1958) and played varsity football and baseball, with his baseball team winning the Wisconsin state high school baseball championship in both 1957 and 1958.
Kirk attended the United States Air Force Academy, graduating in 1962 (Class of 1962: “The Red Tag Bastards”). At the Academy, he lettered two years in baseball and developed a fondness for the game of handball. Kirk was known as “KB” to many of his classmates at the Academy.
Kirk married the love of his life, Georgiann Sue “Cookie” Schaaf, at Grace Lutheran Church in Eau Claire on June 30, 1962.
Kirk was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the USAF and received orders to enter Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) at Williams Air Force Base, Chandler, Arizona. There he trained in the Cessna T-37 and the Northrop T-38 Talon. On August 3, 1963, he was awarded his silver USAF pilot’s wings.
On April 12, 1963, the Clark’s first child, Kevin John, was born.
Lt. Clark was then assigned to Luke AFB, Phoenix, Arizona, to train on the North American.
F-100 Super Sabre. After completing F-100 training, Lt. Clark was assigned to the 493rd Tactical Fighter Squadron (TFS), 48th Tactical Fighter Wing (TFW) located at RAF Station, Lakenheath, England, United Kingdom, reporting July 1964.
Their second son, Scott Wayne, was born at Lakenheath on February 4, 1965.
While at Lakenheath, Lt. Clark earned squadron Top Gun and wing Select Crew honors. After three years at Lakenheath flying the F-100, Capt. Clark was assigned to the 308th TFS, 31st TFW, Tuy Hoa Air Base, Republic of Vietnam. He was in Vietnam from September 25, 1967, to October 2, 1968. During that year, Capt. Clark flew 360 combat missions, logging 548 hours of combat flying time in the F-100.
After a year of combat, Capt. Clark resigned his Regular commission, accepted a Reserve commission, and left active duty. He went on Western Airlines pilot’s seniority roster on October 28, 1968, and began training on the L-188 Lockheed Electra, based in Seattle, Washington.
Concurrent with his civilian aviation career, Capt. Clark remained active in his Air Force Reserve capacity, initially flying the Lockheed T-33 as a target for USAF Air Defense a combat crew member in Southeast Asia from 9 October 1967 to 28 October 1967. During this period, outstanding airmanship and courage were exhibited in the successful achievement of important missions under extremely hazardous conditions, including the continuous possibility of hostile ground fire. His highly professional efforts contributed materially to the mission of the United States Air Force in Southeast Asia. The professional ability and outstanding aerial accomplishments of Captain Clark reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
Not all of Kirk’s work for the Air Force was completed in the air. Some of his best work was done on the ground. Colonel Clark was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (First Oak Leaf Cluster) for Meritorious Service, 1 March 1990 -15 March 1994. Citation: Colonel Kirk B. Clark distinguished himself in the performance of outstanding service to the United States as United States Air Force Academy and Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Admissions Liaison Officer, 9001st Air Reserve Squadron, Lowry Air Force Base, Colorado, from 1 March 1990 to 15 March 1994. Completely on his own initiative, Colonel Clark researched, conceptualized, and developed a minority’s role model/mentoring program designed to motivate quality young minority scholar-leaders to pursue a career in the United States Air Force. After observing a shortage of Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship application packets available to candidates, Colonel Clark submitted a recommendation to improve the distribution process resulting in a change of Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps policies and procedures to meet the high demand and meet recruiting goals. His support of the Grass Roots Program, Summer Scientific Seminar, Junior Falcon Hunt, and high school College Fairs and Career Days has resulted in many fine young students competing for an Air Force Academy appointment or an Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship. The singularly distinctive accomplishments of Colonel Clark culminate a long and distinguished career in the service of his country and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.