Prior to Joining USAF
1936 Born at home in Alton, IL of Walter and Lavern Clarke. My mother died when I was about three years old. My brother (five years my senior) and I went from family care to an Orphans Home to care by an older couple on a small farm near Edwardsville, IL where I started my formal education in a one-room school.
1943 My father married Esther J. Clark (no “e”) the sister of his best friend from his youth. As a result I grew up in St Louis, MO attending Irving Elementary and Central HS (oldest public HS west of the Mississippi River). Was on the very bad football team and played trombone in the band.
1954 Graduated from Central HS, worked for several months as a Toll Collector on the McKinley Bridge in St Louis. Enrolled in Stockton College, Canton MO (oldest co-ed college west of the Mississippi River). Played football played trombone in the band and the dance band.
1956 Married Eunice A. Ritchey a local Canton girl who, along with her sister Penny, was raised by maternal grandparents in Canton. Her grandfather was the Town Marshall, so I had to be good.
1958 Returning to Culver-Stockton after a year working at MacDonnell Aircraft Corp. However, our money soon ran out and we were deep in debt. I had completed three years of college but owed too much to return. During that recession year there were few jobs to be found. So, I enlisted in the USAF “just for the money” at the Base Pay of $78.00 a month.
1959 After Basic Training and Technical School at Keesler AFB (KAFB) I was assigned to Hamilton AFB, CA as an Aircraft Electrical Navigation Equipment Repairman.
1961 Our first son Wm. Mark was born at Hamilton and we lived in Petaluma, CA.
1962 I was prompted by my OIC, an OCS graduate, to apply for OCS and was notified of my selection while attending an advanced TDY course at Keesler. I could not have made it through OCS without the support of Eunice. She was kept busy taking care of our one year old Mark and was also the OCS Mother for Fredrick “Putt” Crabtree. Detailed memories are very few and probably selective. Three “special” memories stand out: 1) During the October 1962 missile crisis, I recall standing in the First Class Day Room watching President Kennedy give the ultimatum to the USSR and Cuba. I seem to recall how the rumors began to fly concerning “early graduation”. 2) I recall drinking Cokes from the First Class Coke Machine with my classmates. We also made sure that every one of our classmates had a drink, since we were not going to be “Buddy Zappers.” 3) The worst memory was the time when we had just changed rooms. A member of the First Class asked me if I had any panic items. I answered “No Sir” not realizing my classmate who had just moved forgot to take the extra socks with him. The member of the First Class immediately reached under the mattress and pulled out a pair of socks. After ranting and raving for some time he said he was going to report me for an honor violation. I found out later that one of his classmates pulled him into the hall and he was chastised for knowingly setting a trap. Strange – I ended up as a member of the Honor Council.
First Assignment as 2Lt
1963 After another Technical School at KAFB I was assigned to SAC at Blytheville AFB, AR as OIC of Base Communication Operations, and all went well. Steven Alan, our second son was born at Blytheville.
1965 I utilized the Bootstrap Program to complete my final college credits and received my Bachelors Degree from the University of Omaha (now U of Nebraska at Omaha).
1966 A short stint with the 5th Tactical Air Control Group at Clark AB was un-remarkable. There were too many Communication-Electronics (C-E) Officers and too little to do. For example, I assisted a Major who had nothing to do. After a study determined there were too many C-E Officers, I “volunteered” to be reassigned to the 405th Armament and Electronics Squadron as the OIC MG-10 Maintenance (F102 Fire Control System). This reassignment was approved, due to my Enlisted experience. The 405th Fighter Wing had F102s TDY at several locations in Vietnam and Thailand requiring periodic maintenance flights. I was the OIC for a number of maintenance teams sent from Clark on two week in-country tours.
1968 Upon return from Clark and another KAFB training course I was assigned to the 11th Refueling Wing at Altus AFB, OK. as Chief, Communications-Electronics Branch.
1971 I was assigned to the USAF Officer Frequency Management School in Washington, DC for one year of training. Since I couldn’t get it right after a year of training they locked me into a controlled four year tour.
1978 The four years actually became seven years and I retired from the USAF. I immediately went to work for Science Applications International Corp (SAIC) in the DC area as a “Beltway Bandit” providing support to the USAF and USN in several areas, including Electromagnetic Spectrum Management, and Test, Measurement and Diagnostic Equipment.
1985 SAIC moved me to Las Vegas to be the Deputy Project Manager for an USAF and later a US Army project, building prototype shelters.
1987 After these projects were complete I transferred to the SAIC support contract for the Department of Energy Yucca Mountain Project (High Level Nuclear Waste Disposal). I performed duties in both the computer support and purchasing functions.
1994 My support activity was contracted to another company and I was left out in the cold, even though the new company had used my resume in their successful bid to get the contract. Since Eunice and I did not want to leave the Las Vegas area, I decided to change careers and attend a real estate school. Having passed the state license exam the rest is history.
1997 Mark married Yulyia Anatoliyvna Muzychenko (Julie) in Kiev, Ukraine. They live in Las Vegas and she has applied for citizenship. Our younger son Steve also lives in Las Vegas.
Where Am I Now
2003 Eunice and I love living in Las Vegas and would not want to live anywhere else. At this point I enjoy being a Real Estate Agent. I am currently associated with Liberty Realty, an independent real estate company and the largest real estate agency in Nevada, with about 1,300 agents and five offices in southern Nevada. Since I have a reliable income from Social Security and USAF Retirement I don’t work at real estate as hard as I would otherwise. In the last few years I’ve made a bit more than I’ve spent on overhead. But, Eunice is happy that I keep busy, out of the house and not underfoot.
My Plans for the Future
I really don’t have any grand plans for the future, but want to see more of the US than I have in the past. I’d like to travel and be able to stop and smell the roses.