Mrs. Boyce Clark clasped her husband’s right hand this morning, pressing the wedding ring he first wore 16 months ago. 15 months before he lost his left hand fighting with the 1st Marine Division in Korea.
“I’m doing fine,” the blond, 21-year-old marine corporal told her, “I can see and I can walk, and that’s more than a lot of guys who got it can do.”
“We’re both doing fine,” Mrs. Clark said, exuding sheer, simple happiness with every word, “We just couldn’t do any better.”
Their expressions left no doubts that this was the case.
The corporal arrived this morning at Seattle-Tacoma Airport to begin a 30-day leave from Oak Knoll Naval Hospital, Oakland, Calif.
Corporal Clark, leader of a rifle team, saw five others in his unit wounded in the same action which cost him his hand. The outfit was hit hard by Communist mortar fire near the IIwachon Reservoir June 2. The wounded men were members of the 2n Battalion, 7th Regiment, 1st Marine Division.
Three days after he was hit, Clark was aboard the Haven, a hospital ship.
“The medics told me my hand was gone,” he recalled, “I can’t tell how I felt, but they seemed to feel so bad about it that it seemed to make it easier.
“They were wonderful to me on that ship, and at Tripler Hospital in Hawaii, and at Oak Knoll. All along the line, people have wanted to do things for me.”
After his leave, the marine will return to Oak Knoll to begin a long course of rehabilitation.
“People ought to see what goes on down there,” Clark said, “Boys arrive in pretty rough shape, and pretty low in their minds. Well, those medics have all the patience in the world, and they keep pegging away until the guys decide getting well might pay off.”
Clark was graduated from O’Dea High School and attended Seattle University before he was called to active duty in September. The corporal’s mother, Mrs. Ruth Clark and his sister, Mrs. Fred Dennis, joined in the simple homecoming today. The tension of separation and the events of the past ten months rapidly dissolved in the reunion of a close-knit family.
Everybody agreed with the corporal, that he was doing “just fine.”
We honor you, Earl Clark.