Retired RCSM reflects on Veterans Day, continues a life of service

By Laura LeveringNovember 6, 2023

1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Then-Command Sgt. Maj. Tom Clark briefs members of 440th Signal Battalion prior to leaving Kuwait and entering Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003. (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo) VIEW ORIGINAL
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Since retiring from the Army after more than 32 years of service, Dr. Tom Clark continues to serve in a variety of ways, to include as executive director for the Alliance for Fort Gordon Eisenhower. (Photo Credit: Hillary Kay Studios) VIEW ORIGINAL
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – When introducing himself to an audience, former Regimental Command Sgt. Maj. Tom Clark, now Dr. Tom Clark, has been known to open and close with, "My name is Clark, and I am a Soldier!" (Photo Credit: Photo illustration by Brandon Spraggins) VIEW ORIGINAL

“My name is Clark, and I am a Soldier.”

Well-known and respected by fellow Signaleers, Dr. Tom Clark has worn many hats, but the one he’s most proud of is that of a United States Soldier – and he’s quick to let others know it.

Born in Danville, a borough in northeastern Pennsylvania, Clark enlisted under the Delayed Entry Program on June 19, 1979. The following year, he completed training as an antenna installation specialist (36D), earning him a place in the Signal Corps. For the next 32-plus years, Clark would climb the ranks, travel the world, lead thousands of Soldiers, endure combat, and reach milestones he once previously overlooked.

Capping his military career, Clark became “Regimental Command Sgt. Maj. Tom Clark” at then-Fort Gordon in October 2007, where he remained until his retirement from the Army in June 2011. In addition to receiving numerous awards and decorations while on active duty, Clark is an Audie Murphy Club and Sergeant Morales Club inductee. In 2013, he was recognized for his contributions to the Signal Corps by becoming a Distinguished Member of the Signal Regiment inductee.

More than a decade post-retirement, Clark continues to serve, albeit in a different capacity.

As executive director for the Alliance for Fort Eisenhower, Clark spends a significant amount of his time promoting, coordinating, and advocating for the Fort Eisenhower Cyber District “to stimulate investment in cyber growth and capitalize on opportunities for the benefit of all.”

An active volunteer in the community, he is vice president of Soldier Programs for the local Association of the United States Army chapter, an Augusta Masters Red Carpet volunteer, and a commissioner on the Georgia Joint Defense Commission. He was named one of Georgia Trend’s and James Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Georgians in 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023, among other honors.

And despite his vast success and achievements over the years, Clark makes it a point to let others know where he came from, typically opening with, “My name is Clark, and I’m a Soldier.”

Clark recently set aside time from his busy schedule to reflect and share some of his thoughts on Veterans Day.

What does Veterans Day mean to you?

Veterans Day means honor, duty, freedom, and sacrifice for those who served in the military. It means thanking those who have served.

What are you most proud of as a veteran?

When my country called upon me and my fellow veterans to defend freedom, we answered that call.

Who is a veteran that you look up to?

My dad. His handshake was his word … By far, the smartest and toughest man on the planet. He always led by example and from the front – as a father, as a veteran, and as a carpenter. Whatever he was doing, you didn’t have to look around to find him, because he was always in front.

How would you sum up your service?

Even in my civilian career, I start everything with, “My name is Clark, and I’m a Soldier.” I didn’t want to get to a certain position and forget who I serve … so I would I start and end every speech with that sentence. I am honored to have served my country, my flag, my Army, and my fellow Soldiers, but at the end of the day, I’m a simple Soldier who proudly defended freedom and the American way of life.

If you could go back and serve all over again, would you?

Yes, it’s the best decision I have ever made. Thanks to the Army, I now have an extensive education, an undergraduate degree from Central Texas College and Excelsior College, a master’s degree in post-secondary adult education from Troy University, and a doctorate in Management in Organizational Leadership from Phoenix University. I am also a certified project management professional (PMP). All of this, the Army paid for in some way, shape, or form, throughout my journey to now be called Doctor/Sgt. Maj. Clark.

Why do you continue working? Why not fully retire?

I guess because I don’t golf … and COVID-19 showed me that staying at home is not in my DNA. I like to work, I like to be amongst people, and the only way you can truly serve people is in person. that’s why I continue to work.

Why should we take time to honor veterans?

As President Calvin Coolidge once said, “The nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten.” Serving in our armed forces is one of the most courageous and selfless decisions a citizen of this country can make.”

What is something others can do to show veterans their support?

Understand that veterans may have scar tissue on their hearts from events that have changed them. Volunteer at a local VA facility. Help a veteran get hired. Say “thank you,” and mean it.

Any misconceptions about Veterans Day you’d like to dispel?

A lot of people think it’s “Veteran’s Day” or “Veterans’ Day,” but they’re wrong. The holiday is not a day that “belongs” to one veteran or multiple veterans, which is what an apostrophe implies. It is a day for honoring all veterans — so no apostrophe needed. Honoring everyone who has ever donned the military uniform whether it be for a day or for a decade … thank you for your service.

Is there anything you’d like to say to fellow veterans?

I served with some of the finest men and women in the world, and I would tell the average citizen that this country has the strongest most dedicated military in the world. For that you can say “thank you,” and sleep peacefully at night.