In Memory of
U.S. Air Force Captain Rapid City, South Dakota
Pennington County

February 16, 1919--March 18, 1953
Died in a Crash of RB-36 near Gander Field, Newfoundland


Orien Franklin Clark was born on February 16, 1919, to Arthur and Amelia Clark. Before his service in WW II, Orien lived in Lead for a time. He then served overseas in WW II from 1942 to 1945. He returned to the United States after WW II and married Dorothy K. Cassetina on July 9, 1945, at Miami, Florida. They had two children: Linda and Richard, both born in Boston. After his discharge from the service, Orien and his family moved back to South Dakota; he managed Black Hills Radio Dealers in Rapid City from 1946 to 1951. He was also active in the community, having served as president of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, for example.

Captain Orien Franklin Clark reentered the U.S Air Force on March 30, 1950, as a part of the 718th Squadron, 28th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, based at the Rapid City Air Force Base. On March 18, 1953, Captain Orien Franklin Clark was among the 23 crewmembers aboard an RB-36 returning from a routine exercise in Europe when it crashed in Newfoundland. There were no survivors. Most of the men killed were stationed in Rapid City but had hometowns in other states, so their bodies were returned elsewhere for burial. However, two others besides Captain Clark were returned to South Dakota: Major Frank Wright of Eagle Butte and Brigadier General Richard Elmer Ellsworth. The three were buried in close proximity with military honors at Black Hills National Cemetery near Sturgis.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Chantelle Rae Janke, 8th grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota on July 28, 2004. An application for a SD veteran’s bonus, the South Dakota National Guard Museum, and the Rapid City Journal, March 19 & 22, 1953 issues, provided information for this entry. Memorial stone photo by Mrs. Hansen. No family contact made.