Morris Young Clark was born in Boonshill, Tennessee, on December 19, 1920, son of C. Earnest (now deceased) and Ora (George) Clark. He attended Boonshill High School and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, prior to his appointment to the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, from his native state in 1940. He was graduated and commissioned Ensign with the Class of 1944 on June 9, 1943 (accelerated course due to World War II) and subsequently advanced in rank to that of Captain, to date from September 1, 1963.
Following graduation from the Naval Academy in 1943, he was a technical Observer for two months at the Naval Air Training Command, Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida. From August 1943 to March 1945 he was F Division Officer on board the USS Birmingham (CL-62), which participated in the Pacific raids, Tinian capture an occupation, and Marianas, Philippines Islands, Leyte, and Iwo Jima operations. He received the Purple Heart Medal for wounds received in enemy action in 1944. He is also entitled to the Ribbon for, and facsimile of the Navy Unit Commendation awarded the USS Birmingham.
During the period April 1945 to October 1946 he had flight training at the Naval Air Station at Ottumwa, Iowa; Corpus Christi, Texas; Cecil Field, Jacksonville, and Whiting Field, Florida. Designated Naval Aviator in April 1946, he remained in Florida area until October of that year and in November joined Fighting Squadron Two-E to serve as Maintenance and Operations Officer. In November 1948 he transferred to Fighter Squadron Eighty-One for duty as Maintenance Officer until May 1949, after which he was assigned as Overhaul and Repair Enlisted Personnel Officer; Administrative Assistant to the Commanding Officer of the Naval Air Station, Jacksonville; and Administrative Assistant to Commander Naval Air Bases Sixth Naval District. From August 1951 to January 1953 he was Assistant Air Officer and later Air Officer on board the USS Gilbert Island (CVE-107), then in February 1953 reported as Operations Officer of Fighter Squadron Seventy-Two.
Assigned to the Bureau of Naval Personnel, Washington, DC, in April 1954, he was Aide and Administrative Officer to the Chief of Naval Personnel until January 1957, then had instruction at the Armed Forces Staff College, Norfolk, Virginia. In June 1957 he became Executive Officer of Attack Squadron One Hundred Fifty-Six and in December 1958 assumed command of Fighter Squadron Two Hundred Eleven (later redesignated Fighter Squadron Twenty Four). From January 1960 to June 1961 he was Executive Officer of the Fleet Operations Control Center, US Pacific Fleet, headquartered in Oahu, Hawaii. He next was a student in Naval Warfare at the Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island, until June 1962, and remained there until March 1963 as Assistant for Air Operations Naval Command Course for foreign students.
In May 1963 he joined the USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) as Executive Officer and in June 1964 joined the Staff of Commander Naval Air Force, US Atlantic Fleet as Operations Officer. From July 1966 to August 1967 he commanded the USS Lasalle (LPD-3), then reported as Deputy Director of Operations on the staff of Commander Task Force Two. He also served as project Officer for Combat Aircraft Recording Data System. He was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal for “meritorious service from August 1967 to June 1968, while serving as Deputy Director of Operations, and subsequently, as Test Director for the Combat Aircraft Recording and Data System (Cards) Test, Joint Task Force Two…” The citation further states in part:
“As Deputy Director of Operations, he contributed significantly to the many and varied test activities required during the planning and execution phases. Captain Clark directed CARDS as a Research and Development type project in answer to urgent requirements from Southeast Asia. His extraordinary performance reflected his sound operational judgment as well as his scientific and cost-effective approach to problems during this development effort. His managerial ability, coupled with his personal initiative and grasp of technical details, earned him the respect of all with whom he associated. The results of his efforts will enable operational commanders in the field to evaluate combat aircraft tactics and meet new and changing threats….”
In July 1968 he assumed command of the Naval Air Station, Twin Cities, Minnesota, and in July 1970 became Chief of Staff and Aide to the Chief of Naval Air Training headquartered at the Naval Air Station, Memphis, at Millington, Tennessee.
In addition to the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Purple Heart Medal, and the Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon, Captain Clark has the American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with six stars; World War II Victory Medal; Korean Service Medal; United Nations Service Medal; and the Philippine Liberations Ribbon.