Transcript: Vietnam War – Pittsburgher John Clark

Samuel W Black, director of African American Program at the History Center:

One of the local veterans who contributed material to the exhibition was John Clark. He was a member of the 5th Marine Corps in Vietnam in 1966. The interesting thing about John Clark’s service in Vietnam in 1966 is that he received two Purple Hearts, which means that he was injured twice. Once, he stepped on a booby trap in which a metal spike went through his boot, but the spike was attached to an explosive. It took twenty minutes for his comrades to remove the explosive and allow him to then move off of that spike. The spike went through his jungle boots, all the way through to the top of his foot, so he was injured and out of action for a short period of time.

The second time he received a Purple Heart, he was on what they call a “short timer,” which meant he had about a month or two months his tour in Vietnam was over. He went out on patrol and was shot at the base of his neck, in the back of his head, and was injured again. He survived, came back to Pittsburgh, and helped us with this exhibition, by serving on our Ad Hoc committee and providing oral history as well.