Cecil Clark was born in Murphy, Texas, on August 4, 1917, son of John N. and Robbie (Matthews) Clark. He attended the College of the Ozarks, Clarksville, Arkansas; George Washington University, Washington, DC; Arkansas State Teachers College at Conway; and Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. At all four schools he played Varsity Football. In civil life he was a statistician for Texas Bond Reporter, Inc., at Dallas, Texas, where in three years he rose from office boy to office manager and traveling statistician.
In July 1940 he began service in the US Naval Reserve, and on December 12, 1940, after indoctrination at the US Naval Reserve Midshipmen’s School at Northwestern University (Abbott Hall), Chicago, Illinois, was commissioned Ensign, USNR. By subsequent advancement and his transfer from the Naval Reserve to the US Navy, he attained the rank of Captain, USN. To date from July 1, 1959.
After graduation from Midshipmen’s School in December 1940, he reported to the USS Detroit (CL-8), and was serving as a Watch and Division Officer in the Gunnery Department of that cruiser at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese bombed the US Fleet there on December 7, 1941. He continued duty in the Detroit as Main Battery Assistant from 1942 to April 1944, during his ship’s operations in the Pacific War Area, including the Aleutians Campaign (occupation of Attu).
Upon his return to the United States, he was ordered to Newport, Rhode Island, for duty with the Pre-commissioning Detail of the USS Springfield (CL-66), and from her commissioning in September 1944 until April 1945 served as Main Battery Assistant on board that cruiser. During that period, the Springfield participated in Fifth and Third Fleet raids in support of the Okinawa Gunto operation. He returned from the Pacific to attend General Ordnance School at the Naval Gun Factory, Navy Yard, Washington, DC, from May to July 1945, then served for four months as Instructor and Head of the Department of Ordnance at the US Naval Reserve Midshipmen’s School at Fort Schuyler, The Bronx, New York.
During the post war period, from December 1945 until January 1947, he was Executive Officer of the Recruit Training Command, Naval Training Center, San Diego, California, then for nine months was a student in the Navy’s 5 Term Program at the University of Texas, graduating in September 1947. In October he joined the USS Taussig (DD-746) as Executive Officer, and remained at sea during operations in Pacific waters until January 1950. For ten months he was a student at the General Line School, Monterey, California, and from December 1950 until February 1953 was an Instructor in Ordnance and Gunnery on the Staff of the General Line School.
He next had sea duty as Gunnery Officer of the USS Midway in Atlantic and European waters, after which, from December 1954 to October 1957 he had a tour of duty in the Navy Department, Washington, DC, as Assistant Head of the Logistics Planning Branch, Planning Division of the Bureau of Ordnance. When detached he had brief temporary duty with the Destroyer Force, Atlantic Fleet, then commanded the USS Rich (DDE-820) from November 1957 until April 1959. During that time the Rich participated in Lebanon Operations. In June of that year he became Operations and Training Advisor to the US Naval Mission to Brazil, at Rio de Janeiro, and served in that capacity until July 1962. In September he assumed command of the USS General W.A. Mann (T-AP 112) and in June 1963, was detached for duty as Assistant Director, Foreign Military Assistance Division and Head of the Policy and Coordination Branch, in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department. In August 1965 he was assigned as Assistant Director, Field Support Activity, Washington, DC.
Captain Clark has the American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three operations stars; American Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; Navy Occupation Service Medal, Europe Clasp; and the National Defense Service Medal.