Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"The Great Escape" tells the story of a heroic group

Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. A.P. Clark, a World War II veteran who played a key role in the elaborate breakout from a Nazi prisoner-of-war camp that inspired the movie "The Great Escape," has died. He was 96.

He became a pilot after graduating from the Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., in 1936. During World War II he flew with the 31st Fighter Group, the first American fighter unit in the European Theater, according to an Air Force Academy biography.

Then a lieutenant colonel, Clark was shot down by German fighter planes over Abbeville, France, in July 1942, and spent nearly three years as a prisoner of war at Stalag Luft III in what is now Poland. He is credited with managing the production and hiding supplies in support of the escape of 76 POWs from the camp in 1944.

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