ST. THOMAS MORE SCHOOL
St. Thomas More had a number of activities the week of Jan. 28 to celebrate Catholic Schools Week including a celebration of military personnel. Students participated in a card project for veterans and current military personnel and had a special visit from Army veteran Tim Clark, of Wescosville.
Clark, 72, entered the service after he graduated from high school because he couldn’t afford to go to college.
Service was a part of his family with his father a fighter pilot in World War II, his mother a drill sergeant in World War II, his brother in the Vietnam war and another brother who was a cook in the service.
Clark’s sister is Loretta Costa, an administrative assistant in the office at St. Thomas More, 1040 Flexer Ave., Allentown.
Clark told students he attended Catholic grade school in Lansdale. One of the nuns told him he had a knack for languages.
When he joined the Army back in the 1960s, he went to Fort Dix, N.J. and decided he wanted to become a linguist.
He was sent to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif., where 39 different languages were taught.
Clark studied the Russian language for eight hours a day where he learned to speak, write, read, dance, cook and watch movies in the Russian language.
“The professors never spoke English as they were native-born Russians,” Clark said.
Clark became a Russian interpreter/translator, received top secret clearance and was sent to the National Security Agency in Washington, D.C. where he technically became a spy.
He was sent to Turkey and sat on top of a mountain where he used a radio telephone to listen to Russian phone conversations. He then typed what he heard and then the information was sent back to Washington in a secret code. He was in Turkey for 11 months and 10 days.
“We typed the conversations on a special paper which dissolved in water; we had a bucket next to us filled with water. If we were caught by the Russians, we were to put the papers in the buckets,” Clark said.
Clark showed the students one of his prized possessions – the Distinguished Flying Cross medal given to his father after flying 74 missions and earning seven additional medals, including a Purple Heart.
Following the presentation to the second grade, students asked very poignant questions including, “Why were people fighting? and “Why was there a war?
Clark told the students how countries couldn’t agree and that war is not good.
He asked the students to “pray for peace” so people don’t hurt one another.