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Wesley Clark Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

(CNN) — Here’s a look at the life of retired Army General Wesley Clark.


Birth date: December 23, 1944

Birth place: Chicago, Illinois

Birth name: Wesley Kanne

Father: Benjamin J. Kanne, WWI veteran and attorney

Mother: Veneta Kanne Clark

Marriage: Gertrude (Kingston) Clark (June 1966-present)

Children: Wesley Clark Jr.

Education: United States Military Academy at West Point, valedictorian, 1966; Oxford University, M.S. in philosophy, politics, economics, Rhodes Scholar, 1966-1968; National War College, Command and General Staff College, Ranger and Airborne schools, 2002

Military service: US Army, General

Religion: Catholic

Other Facts

His biological father, Benjamin Kanne, died when Clark was 5 years old.

Veneta Kanne moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, and married Victor Clark, who adopted her son.

Has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

Has served on numerous boards and in advisory roles, including: chairman of Energy Security Partners, LLC; senior fellow at UCLA’s Burkle Center for International Relations; director with the Atlantic Council.


February 19, 1970 – While leading a patrol during the Vietnam War, Clark is shot four times during a firefight.

1975 – Is promoted to major at the age of 31.

1975-1976 – White House fellow in the Ford Administration.

February 1980-June 1982 – US Army Commander, 1st Battalion, 77th Armor, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado.

July 1983-September 1983 – Plans Integration Division chief for the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans.

October 1983-July 1984 – Office of the Chief of Staff of the Army, chief of the army’s study group.

August 1984-January 1986 – Commander of operations group, National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California.

April 1986-March 1988 – Commander, Cold War, 4th Infantry Division, 3rd Brigade.

1988-1989 – Commander, Battle Command Training Program, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

October 1989-October 1991 – Commander, National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California.

October 1991-August 1992 – Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Monroe, Virginia, deputy chief of staff for concepts, doctrine and developments.

August 1992-April 1994 – Commander, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

1994-1996 – Joint Staff, director of strategic plans and policy.

1996-1997 – Commander-in-chief of US Southern Command, Panama.

July 9, 1997-2000 – Commander-in-chief, US European Command.

July 11, 1997-May 3, 2000 – Supreme Allied commander in Europe and head of all NATO forces, appointed by President Bill Clinton.

1999 – Commands the alliance’s military response to the Kosovo crisis (Operation Allied Force).

2000 – Retires from the US military.

2000 – Becomes a distinguished senior adviser for the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

March 29, 2000 – Is appointed an honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

April 8, 2000 – Is awarded France’s commander of the Legion of Honor.

August 9, 2000 – Receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Clinton.

2001 – His memoir, “Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat,” is published.

2003 – Military analyst for CNN during the Iraq War.

2003 – Clark’s book, “Winning Modern Wars: Iraq, Terrorism, and the American Empire,” is published.

September 17, 2003 – Clark announces his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president.

October 16, 2003 – Clark releases more than 180 pages of records detailing his 37-year military career. The records include evaluations from the 1970s and 1980s when he was a junior officer rising through the ranks.

December 15, 2003 – Begins several days of testimony against former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in a UN war crimes tribunal at the Hague in the Netherlands.

February 3, 2004 – Clark wins the Oklahoma primary by several hundred votes over John Edwards.

February 11, 2004 – Announces he’s dropping out of the race.

February 13, 2004 – Endorses John Kerry as the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee.

2004-present – Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Wesley K. Clark & Associates, a strategic advisory and consulting firm.

September 2007 – His book, “A Time to Lead: For Duty, Honor, and Country,” with Tom Carhart, is published.

September 15, 2007 – Endorses Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president. He campaigns for Clinton through December.

June 29, 2008 – Appears on “Face the Nation” and openly attacks Sen. John McCain’s war service, “I don’t think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president…That large squadron in the Navy that he commanded – that wasn’t a wartime squadron.”

October 2008 – Campaigns for presidential candidate Barack Obama in North Carolina.

2009-present – Co-founder and chairman of investment banking firm Enverra, Inc.

June 19, 2013 – The Blackstone Group announces that Clark will serve as a senior adviser focusing on the energy sector.

September 2014 – Clark’s book, “Don’t Wait for the Next War,” is published.

February 11, 2015 – During an interview on CNN Clark says “ISIS got started through funding from our friends and allies, because as people will tell you in the region, if you want somebody who will fight to the death against Hezbollah, you don’t put out a recruiting poster and say sign up for us.”

Fall 2018-Spring 2019 – Centennial fellow at Georgetown University.

2019 – Founds Renew America Together, a non-profit intended “to promote and achieve greater common ground in America by reducing partisan division and gridlock.”

November 1, 2021 – Clark’s article “Hybrid Warfare and the Challenge of Cyberattacks” is published in the book “The Challenge to NATO: Global Security and the Atlantic Alliance.”

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