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Hall County native serving in Pakistani relief effort

POSTED: September 20, 2010 12:16 a.m.
/For The Times

U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Clark Noble

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A Hall County native and North Hall High School graduate is taking part in the U.S. Marines Corps’ flood relief efforts in Pakistan.

U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Clark Noble, 28, has piloted a CH-53 transport helicopter in missions from the USS Peleliu, an amphibious assault ship based in the Indian Ocean as part of the Fifth Fleet.

“It’s been a great experience, a great adventure,” said his mother, Bette Noble, who lives in North Hall. “The people have been very, very grateful for the help that has been offered to them.”

Flooding began six weeks ago in northwest Pakistan after exceptionally heavy monsoon rains. The deluge slowly worked its way down the Indus and its tributaries, washing over at least 7.4 million acres of farm land and destroying or damaging more than 1.8 million homes.

Some 20 million Pakistanis have been affected by what has been called the worst natural disaster in Pakistan’s history.

U.S. military helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, working with the Pakistan military, have transported more than 5.4 million pounds of relief supplies and rescued more than 13,000 people, according to a U.S. Central Command News Release on Sept. 13.

Noble said last week that her son “has flown to very remote villages in the mountains that have been totally cut off because the roads and bridges have been washed away. ... He has flown the entire length of the Indus River.”

At that time, she had last spoken to her son on Sept. 11.

“He said they are about finished with their mission there,” Noble said.

Clark Noble, a graduate The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va., joined the Marines five years ago and was based at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego before the May deployment aboard the Peleliu.

“It is the vessel with the most resources and the closest to Pakistan,” said his mother, adding that the ship is intended for humanitarian aid and assisting in hostile activities.

“The CH-53 helicopters were the first ones to leave the Peleliu because they were the largest, could fly the longest distances and haul the most materials and people.”

Noble said she is proud of her son, who is scheduled to return home in December.

“He is serving his country well and this is a tremendous opportunity to participate in this,” she said. “He is very honored to have been in this situation, that he could participate in this mission.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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