By Melissa Bower | Staff Writer
Published: Thursday, April 2, 2009 9:02 AM CDT
A Vietnam veteran and double amputee had some words of advice to wounded warriors when he spoke to students and staff at the Command and General Staff College March 25 as part of the Marshall Hall lecture series.
“The problems, the pain from combat and the military situation is inevitable, but suffering does not have to happen,” said Allen Clark, retired Army captain. “That was then, this is now.”
Clark served in the 5th Special Forces Group at Camp Dak To, Vietnam. He was injured June 17, 1967, and eventually had both legs amputated below the knees. Clark received a Purple Heart, a Silver Star and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.
In 2007, Clark authored a book, “Wounded Soldier, Healing Warrior,” about his injuries and healing. He also founded a lay ministry, http://www.combatfaith.com, to assist warriors healing from combat wounds and post-traumatic stress disorder.
“We’re all going to be impacted to some degree by some combat operating stressors of sadness, of anger, of bad – even horrific – memories of things we did or did not do … Sometimes we see things that we found to be overwhelming and inescapable for our dreams and memories for a long period of time, maybe our whole lives,” he said.
Clark grew up in an Army family and fulfilled his childhood dream to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy in 1963. He planned to serve four years active duty to please his first wife, who wanted him to resign.
“I could not do that, our motto at West Point – it’s the officer code also – is duty, honor, country; and I volunteered for Vietnam because I never felt I would be proud of myself if I resigned without going to Vietnam,” he said.