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Get To Know Gen. Richard M. Clark, The First Black Head Of US Air Force Academy

Get To Know Gen Richard M Clark The First Black Head Of US Air Force Academy
Richard M Clark


On September 23, 2020, three-star Gen. Richard M. Clark took command of the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, fulfilling a dream he had harbored for nearly a decade. He was one of six children born in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1964, to former elementary schoolteacher Margo Hunter, his mother, and stepfather Dr. Richard C. Hunter, a former superintendent of public schools in Baltimore, Maryland, and Richmond, Virginia.

Clark attended Richmond’s Jefferson-Huguenot-Wythe High School. He started as a cadet at the Air Force Academy in 1982 and was an outstanding football lineman. He was a stellar high school athlete on the football and track teams (first-team all-state for both).


Clark graduated from the Academy in 1986 with a degree in operations research. By the end of the decade, he had completed the Squadron Officer School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, the National War College, National Defense University, and the Naval War College in Washington, D.C., as well as security and foreign relations studies at Syracuse University and Harvard University.

Clark also earned a master’s degree in human resource management from Webster University in St. Louis, attended weapons school at Ellsworth AFB (South Dakota), and received an honorary doctorate from the University of Maryland.

Clark logged nearly 5,000 flight hours as a command pilot, beginning with training planes like the Learjet C-21, T-1 Jayhawk, T-38 Talon, and T-6 Texan II, and progressing to large aircraft like the Rockwell B-1 Lancer bomber, the Boeing EC-135 Looking Glass bomber, and the Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker. During the global war on terror, he had the opportunity to prove his mettle and combat skills when he flew 400 hours during the Iraq War and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

After command assignments at the Pentagon, Air Force bases in the United States (Ellsworth, Randolph, and Barksdale), and service as director of the Joint Interagency Task Force-Iraq and Multi-National Force-Iraq in Baghdad, Iraq, he returned to his alma mater for a two-year stint as Commandant of Cadets from 2010 to 2012.

In 2016, he was assigned to Ramstein Air Base in Germany, where he was in charge of the Third Air Force. Clark returned to the Pentagon in 2018 as the deputy chief of staff for Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration at Headquarters United States Air Force.

Clark was nominated by Former President Donald Trump to replace retiring Superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silverio as superintendent of the United States Air Force Academy in July 2020. Clark was the first African American chief as well as a former Commandant of Cadets to return to lead the Academy.

The Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Combat Action Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal, Bronze Star Medal with oak leaf cluster, and Nuclear Deterrence Operations Service Medal are among his many awards. His wife, Amy, and daughter, Zoey, were present at his Change of Command Ceremony in 2020.



Written by How Africa News

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