The Rotary Club of Galveston honored the late Lieutenant Max Clark in a Memorial Day Program on May 23. Clark, the father of Sam and Irving Clark, served in the United States Army in World War I, returned to Galveston where he founded the Junior ROTC at Ball High School, then returned to war as a Marine for World War II.
Mike Guarino recounted Clark's military career, including his capture by the Japanese in the defense of Corregidor and the 90 mile Bataan Death March, where hundreds of American and Philippino prisoners died. Text
"Fellow soldiers and Marines would later report that during the march, Max Clark intervened when a young American soldier was caught with a small piece of fruit that was left along the road by Philippine villagers," Guarino said. "The standing order was that prisoners caught with food would be immediately executed. The guards were about to execute the soldier, but Max Clark stepped forward and told the Japanese guard that the soldier was under his command and they must execute him rather than the young soldier. The guards inexplicably turned away and both the soldier and Major Clark survived that encounter."
Clark died in October of 1944, when he was placed on a Japanese prisoner ship, known as a "Hellship", with 1,800 other POWs.
"The ship was not marked as a Red Cross prisoner of war ship when it left Manila and headed for Japan," Guarino said. "He lost his life when it was torpedoed by an American submarine, thinking it was a regular Japanese freighter."
Clark was honored in WWI with the Silver Star, Purple Heart
, Croix De Guerre with Palm, from France; and in WWII with the Navy Cross and three Purple Hearts.
Sam Clark, in an interview with GuidryNews.com, said that his family appreciates the honor that the Rotary Club and the people of Galveston have paid his father, and added that he hopes that a Congressional Medal of Honor may yet be included in the list of awards. Listen Download