Retired Lt. Gen. A.P. Clark, sixth superintendent of the US Air Force Academy whose exploits as a POW during World War II inspired the Hollywood classic “The Great Escape,” died March 8 in Colorado Springs, Colo. He was 96. Born Albert Patton Clark in 1913 in Hawaii, he became a pilot after graduating from West Point in 1936. Flying with the 31st Fighter Group out of Britain during World War II, his fighter was shot down in July 1942 over France, and he spent the next 33 months as a POW at Stalag Luft III in what is now Poland. He is credited with playing a critical role in the escape of 76 POWs from the camp in 1944. Clark was USAFA’s top general from August 1970 to July 1974. His funeral service is Wednesday at the academy, (USAFA release) (Los Angeles Times obituary)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.