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Clarence Virgil Slack Jr.

West Virginia
Veterans Memorial

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Clarence Virgil Slack Jr.
1925-1951

"Cork’s ability to master all problems, his ingenuous wit and his good nature placed him in good stead with the long grey line."

West Point yearbook

Clarence Virgil Slack, known to family and friends as “Cork,” was born March 1, 1925, in Wheeling, West Virginia, to Clarence V. and Elizabeth Gehring Slack. Clarence attended Warwood Elementary School and graduated from Warwood High School in 1942. While a student he participated in baseball, football, and basketball and was considered a natural athlete. He also participated in school plays and band. In his youth, Cork also was known throughout the Wheeling area for his beautiful singing voice, and he sang in many churches throughout the area.

Following graduation from Warwood High School, Cork entered the United States Military Academy at West Point. In June 1945 he graduated as a second lieutenant in the Army Air Corps, which later became the United States Air Force. He received transition training in B-17s at Orlando, Florida. In 1946 he served in bomber units in Europe and later flew P-38’s out of Neibiberg, Germany, with the 526th Fighter Squadron.
Clarence Virgil Slack
Clarence Virgil Slack Jr., West Point Cadet

Clarence Virgil Slack
Clarence Virgil Slack Jr.
Upon returning to the United States, he was assigned to the 325th Fighter Squadron at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. While at Langley he married Jean Shepherd in New York City on September 19, 1950.
Clarence and Jean Slack
Cork and Jean Slack on their wedding day

In November 1950, Cork was assigned to 36th Fighter Squadron in Korea. He was the pilot of an F-80C Shooting Star fighter interceptor. On March 14, 1951, while on a combat mission 10 miles north of Pyongyang, Lt. Slack’s plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed bursting into flames.

In the vicinity of Sunan railroad yards, intense antiaircraft fire was encountered and was concentrated on the Flight Leader and his wingman. Lieutenant Slack quickly sighted the gun emplacements and with complete disregard for his own safety, began a dueling attack with the enemy gun positions. By drawing concentrated fire upon himself, he enabled the lead element to evade devastating ground fire. - from Silver Star citation

At first listed as MIA, he was declared KIA on December 31, 1953. Clarence Virgil Slack was posthumously awarded the Silver Star and promoted to captain.

Information and photos provided by Thomas Way Slack, LtCol USMC (Ret'd), brother

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West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history.


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