Retired Jan. 1, 1970.
Chaplain (Brigadier General) William Leon Clark is command chaplain, U.S. Air Forces Southern Command. As an additional duty, he is also command chaplain, Headquarters, U.S. Southern Command.
In this dual role, he establishes and maintains effective chaplain programs for USAFSO personnel and their dependents and provides staff visitations and assistance to the U.S. military personnel and their dependents of U.S. Military Groups in Central and South America.
Chaplain Clark was born in Mississippi in 1911 and grew up in Hattiesburg and Petal, Miss. He graduated from Petal High School in 1930, Pearl River Junior College in 1933, and Mississippi College, Clinton, Miss., with a bachelor of arts degree in August 1937. He began his seminary work at the Southwestern Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, before World War II and completed it at the New Orleans Theological Seminary in 1948 where he received his bachelor of divinity degree.
In June 19661 Chaplain Clark was awarded the honorary doctor of laws degree by the Atlanta Law School, Atlanta, Ga. On May 26, 1968, he was awarded the honorary doctor of divinity degree by Mississippi College.
Between 1938 and 1941, Chaplain Clark was pastor of the McLaurin Baptist Church in McLaurin, Miss., and taught in the Forest County school system.
Chaplain Clark entered the military chaplaincy in 1941 as a first lieutenant, serving as assistant base chaplain at MacDill Field, Fla., and in 1942 as base chaplain at Drew Field, Fla. He was staff chaplain of the 1st Air Support Command at Mitchel Field, N.Y., from September 1942 to April 1943. Following this, he was the assistant staff chaplain at Headquarters Third Air Force, Tampa, Fla. From March 1944 to September 1945, he served overseas with units of the Fifth Air Force and with the 5th Bomber Command as command chaplain. Following his oversea assignment, he became the staff chaplain of the Third Air Force at Greenville, S.C., in 1946.
He was separated from military service in December 1946 and returned to his seminary studies. During 1947 and 1948, while in the seminary, he served as pastor of the Crosby Baptist Church, Crosby, Miss., and the Fair River Baptist Church, Brookhaven, Miss. He next was pastor of the First Baptist Church, Ellisville, Miss., where he served until 1951. During this time, he also taught Old Testament at the Jones County Junior College.
Chaplain Clark was recalled to extended active duty in 1951 during the Korean War and reported for duty at Francis E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. From September 1951 to October 1955, he served as wing chaplain at Parks Air Force Base, Calif.; Ellington Air Force Base, Texas; and then Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, where he also served as deputy staff chaplain for the Twentieth Air Force. He returned to the United States in October 1955 and was assigned to Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, as wing chaplain and two years later as staff chaplain at Headquarters Tenth Air Force, Selfridge Air Force Base, Mich. In 1958, Chaplain Clark became a regular Air Force officer.
In 1959, he was assigned to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Washington, D.C., where he served as executive director of the Armed Forces Chaplains Board. After completing a three-year tour of duty with the board, he was transferred to the Office of the Chief of Chaplains, U.S. Air Force as Chief of the Personnel Division.
He was appointed Deputy Chief of Chaplains, U.S. Air Force Aug. 1, 1966. In this position, he assisted the chief of chaplains in establishing and maintaining an effective program for Air Force personnel and their dependents by recommending basic plans, policies, programs and requirements for the chaplaincy and performed a continuing analysis of personnel and resource needs essential for effective support of the chaplain program.
He assumed his present duty Jan. 31, 1969.