Conley Laster

Arky's first ship was USS PORTLAND. After Pearl Harbor, he joined many of his classmates in flight training at New Orleans and Jacksonville. After earning his wings, he was attached to a dive bomber squadron in Air Group 80, deployed on board the new carrier TICONDEROGA. During the Philippines Campaign, he was awarded a D.F.C. and an Air Medal. TICONDEROGA was hit by two kamikazes; Arky suffered 3rd degree burns on his arm and leg, and for this he was awarded the Purple Heart.

Before deployment, Arky married Anne Stewart in Norfolk on June 12, 1944. They had two children, Clark III and Susan Elizabeth. Their son died on June 6, 1985, after a stroke. Susan resides in Norfolk.

After TICONDEROGA duty, he was assigned to an air group on board an escort carrier, USS BOGUE. For a short time after the war, he was stationed in the Pentagon, and then again joined a number of his classmates at PG School. After two years at Annapolis, he went on to MIT, earning a degree in Aeronautical Engineering.

After school days, Arky went back to flying with an air group at NAS Norfolk. Shortly thereafter, he was sent to Bethesda Naval Hospital, where his illness was diagnosed as amyitrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease). He was retired from the Navy in April, 1950, with 100 percent disability, and in just two years, on May 29, 1952, he died at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital, and is buried at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Norfolk.

Anne continues to live in Norfolk.