Escort, funeral set for Clark, killed in Afghanistan
ALBANY Friends, family and 100 Patriot Guard Riders will welcome Lt. Col. Todd J. Clark to Albany this morning.
Clark, 40, was one of three American trainers killed when a man in an Afghan army uniform opened fire on them following an argument at an Afghan National Army base in Afghanistan. Also killed was Lt. Col. Jaime Leonard and independent contractor Joseph Morabito, both of New York state.
According to Senior Ride Captain Bill Schaaf, Clark’s father, Jack, asked the Guard Riders to provide an escort from the airport to Christian Brothers Academy.
“Clark served in Bosnia, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan — 17 years,” he said. “By all definitions he was an American hero.”
Schaaf said that while the arrival is short notice, he’s happy to organize an escort. The route and time weren’t clear until late Sunday night, yet he expects roughly 100 bikers to show up for the ride.
Clark grew up in Albany, graduating from CBA before attending Texas A&M University and joining the military.
During his years of service, he received a passel of medals and commendations, including a Purple Heart in 2010 after a roadside bomb put him in Walter Reed Military Hospital for eight months.
Clark received another Purple Heart, posthumously, for his fatal injuries in Afghanistan.
He was well-liked in the area, and Schaaf said the escort will take an extended route to give all the people who knew him a chance to watch the procession.
An aircraft carrying Clark’s remains is expected to touch down at Albany International Airport at 10 a.m. today. He’ll be escorted from the airport south on Albany Shaker Road to Wolf Road and north on Sand Creek Road to CBA, where calling hours will extend from 3 to 8 p.m.
A funeral with full military honors will take place in St. Madeline Sophie Church at 1:30 Tuesday afternoon.
On Wednesday, Clark’s body will be flown to Texas for permanent burial.
Services for Leonard, 39, of Warwick, will be held Thursday at West Point. Morabito, 54, will be buried today in Haines Falls in Greene County.
Clark is survived by his wife, Shelley, and his two teenage children, Madison and Collin.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to the Clark Children Education Trust Fund, c/o New Comer-Cannon Funeral Home, 343 New Karner Rd. Albany, NY 12205.