Retired Marine Dan Clark was not a retired Marine.
When Dan Clark finished his performance of “God Bless America” after the top of the seventh inning last night at Fenway, the Internet exploded in praise of a man we were told was a retired United States Marine Corps Sergeant. We were told wrong, a source at the United State Marine Corps acknowledged.
Dan Clark, known as “The Singing Trooper,” is indeed a retired sergeant—of the Massachusetts State Police. He’s performed his patriotic act all over the country, including numerous times at Fenway Park. He’s never done it in a USMC uniform, though (most often, he’s worn his state trooper duds) which made us wonder exactly what was up with Clark wearing dress blues for his performance during the World Series.
When you see the word “Retired” after a Marine’s rank, it means they served for at least 20 years before being granted retirement benefits. It’s a mark of honor, and one that immediately identifies the bearer as having dedicated a significant portion of their live to the Corps. Dan Clark did, actually, serve with honor in the USMC from 1980 to 1984, according to his website. That makes him a veteran, not a retiree, though. Those two terms should not be conflated.
UPDATE: Clark may have had permission from the Marines to wear the uniform?
What a shame.
Here’s Dan at the World Series.