My father, Kenneth W. Clark, entered the Army August 31st, 1942 at Camp Upton on Long Island, NY. He was assigned to Mitchel Field with the Corps of Engineers. His first unit, the 909th Engineer AF HQ Co., trained in camouflage and attached to the 1st Air Force at Mitchel.
In February, 1944, he was sent west to Geiger Field in Washington state and became part of the reactivated 1891st EAB receiving training with the 4th Air Force. By June 1944 he had achieved the rank of Technician #5 and was trained as a driver of heavy trucks, qualified on vehicles up to and over 4-ton GVW.
Mid-August, the 1891st was shipped to Camp Anza, CA awaiting transport from the Port of Los Angeles departing to the China-Burma-India Theater. After a grueling 38 day voyage with stops in Viti Levu, Fiji and Melbourne, Australia--the battalion arrived in Bombay, India on October 7th immediately boarding a train heading northeast to the Assam province.
The nine day journey brought the 1891st to Dibrugarh and Camp Galahad, the former camp of Merrillís Marauders. Men and equipment were sent via plane over the Hump to Myitkyina, Burma where they proceeded to build two airfields for the 10th Air Force. The 1891st battalion would cover the most ground of any aviation battalion in the CBI Theater. The battalion proceeded to Bhamo and then received orders to proceed to Kunming, China via the Burma Road. The 1891st was assigned to the 14th Air Force, Flying Tigers. Kenneth Clark was with the headquarters company of the battalion.
With work in Tatun and Mengtze (near the Indo-China border), the battalion was put to work on airfields in several locales. Kenneth Clark was in Mengtze, China to witness the Japanese surrender to the Chinese there. A lone wooden plane with green crosses painted on each side over Japanís Imperial symbol landed on the airstrip bringing the small delegation to sign the papers of surrender. When the war ended the battalionís four companies were split to cover Kunming, Chungking, Luiang, and Chanyi.
Kenneth Clark left Kunming via plane, stopped over in Calcutta and arrived in Karachi the first week of October, 1945 to await a ship to take him home to New York. For nearly six days, he was at the Replacement Depot #1 at North Malir some 15 miles from Karachi. It is here he received the Special Service booklet detailing the many activities and places to see on the base and in Karachi.
On October 13th, he boarded the USS General Squier which took him and nearly 3,000 other men through the Suez Canal, docking at Port Said, Egypt, into the Mediterranean Sea past the Straits of Gibraltar and into New York harbor to eventually debark at Pier 88 on November 2nd.
Kenneth Clark received his honorable discharge on November 7th at Fort Dix, NJ and went home to his loving wife, daughter, and family.
- John Clark