Brigadier General Richard D. Clarke was born in Stuttgart, Germany, and raised in an Army family. He was commissioned in the Infantry from the U.S. Military Academy.
Prior to assuming duties as the 74th Commandant of Cadets at West Point, he served as the deputy commanding general of Operations, 10th Mountain Division.
BG Clarke began his career as a rifle platoon leader with 1st Battalion, 48th Infantry, 3rd Armored Division. Beginning in December 1988, Clarke commanded two companies in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault); Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry, as well as the 101st Long Range Surveillance Detachment. In June of 1992, he transitioned to the 75th Ranger Regiment, and in March of 1993 became the commander of the Ranger Reconnaissance Detachment. He subsequently served as the company commander of Bravo Company, 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. Later he held the position of battalion S-3 and then battalion executive officer of 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry, of the 1st Armored Division. This was followed in May 1999 when he assumed duties as the brigade executive officer of the 173rd Airborne Brigade. In March of 2002, he became the commander of the 3rd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. This was directly followed in May 2004 by command of the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. He then served as the commander of the 75th Ranger Regiment from August of 2007 to August of 2009, and then the director of operations, Joint Special Operations Command, from August 2009 to August 2011.
BG Clarke’s deployments while serving in the aforementioned positions include Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Operation Joint Guardian, three deployments in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, and four deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
BG Clarke is a graduate of the Infantry Basic Officer Leadership Course and advanced courses, and the Army Command and General Staff College. Additionally, he received a Master of Security and Strategic Studies from the National War College and a Master of Business Administration from Benedictine College.
BG Clarke’s decorations include; the Defense Superior Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), the Legion of Merit (with Oak Leaf Cluster); Bronze Star Medal (with four Oak Leaf Clusters); Meritorious Service Medal (with three Oak Leaf Clusters); Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal (with two Oak Leaf Clusters); the Army Achievement Medal (with six Oak Leaf Clusters); the National Defense Service Medal (with Bronze Star); the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; and the Afghanistan Service Medal. He also earned the Combat Infantryman Badge (with Star), the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Master Parachutist Badge, the Military Free Fall Parachutist Badge, the Air Assault Badge, and the Ranger Tab.