Thorne M Clark

Private First Class
Army of the United States
13 February 1948 - 22 June 1967
Lompoc, CA
Panel 22E Line 037


Combat Infantry

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign


The database page for Thorne M Clark

12 Dec 2002


I think of you often. The motorcycle rides, the trips to Santa Barbara, the good times just hanging out.

I remember the last time I saw you, with your spit-shined jump boots and shiny airborne wings and all of your damned optimism. I wish that I could share with you some of the blessings I've had come my way over the 35 years that I've outlived you. Who knows? Maybe I can.

Your friend,

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The "Battle of the Slopes" began as a routine search and destroy mission conducted by the 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry. Early on 22 July A Company left its night laager with 2nd Platoon in the lead, then 3rd Platoon, with the Command Group and 1st Platoon bringing up the rear. At 0658, 2nd Platoon's point squad ran into several North Vietnamese Army (NVA) troops, initiating an intense firefight which prevented 2nd platoon from linking up with its point squad. The remainder of A Company then came under attack by the NVA, isolating the three Platoons one from the other.

Heavy fighting continued through the morning. A Company's 1st and 2nd platoons were down to fifteen effective men when radio contact was lost at about 1100. At this point the Command Group and 3rd Platoon themselves were surrounded and heavily engaged. Shortly afterwards, the 2nd platoon's senior surviving Sergeant withdrew his remaining men to the Company Command Post, placing thirty-five wounded and thirty effective soldiers within the 3rd Platoon's defensive perimeter. At 1140 the Company Commander decided to move back up the ridge to a more defensible position, a move completed by about noon. Thus at noontime

  • A Company was dispersed and surrounded, with 1st and 2nd Platoon's dead and wounded separated from the Command Group/3rd Platoon defensive perimeter.
  • The Battalion reserve, B Company, had been inserted into a single-ship landing zone several hundred meters away and was beginning to move out toward A Company's position.
  • C Company was conducting an assault through entrenched NVA troops in an effort to reach A Company
B Company was engaged by 1230. The remaining men of A Company still were under heavy assault and were not relieved by C Company until about 1430. A landing area was cleared and the remnants of A Company extracted. As the afternoon continued, C Company was able to secure and search the area around the A Company defensive position but night fell before they could extend the search into the areas where A Company's 1st and 2nd Platoons had fought. B and C Company set up separate defensive positions for the night. As the 2/503 soldiers waited through the night, anticipating an all out attack, the men heard shots punctuated by screams as the NVA executed the American wounded. At dawn, B and C Companies searched the battlefield. They found only one survivor from A/2/503; he had survived both his initial wounds and a close-range head shot. Fortythree American soldiers had died from head wounds inflicted at close range.

Further clearing operations on the 23rd and 24th confirmed heavy losses among the NVA troops and identified the NVA unit involved as the 6th NVA Battalion, 24th NVA Regiment.

The final results of the engagement were as follows:

  • U. S. Losses: 76 killed and 23 wounded (74 dead from A Company).
  • ARVN losses: 1 ARVN interpreter/advisor and 2 CIDG killed.
  • Enemy Losses: 106 NVA KIA (Body count), 407 NVA KIA (POSS), 3 POWs.
PFC Thorne M. Clark was one of the 74 men from A/2/503 who died that day.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a friend,
Mark Morlock 
12 Dec 2002

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 01/01/2004