Grand Rapids Police Department wished a happy 98th birthday to its oldest living retiree on Thursday, March 14.
Cliff Carlon was born in 1921 in Grand Rapids. He was drafted into the Army six months after Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1942 and began his aptitude training in Fort Sheridan, Chicago before serving as a mechanic with Company B of the 692nd Tank Destroyer Battalion in Europe. He later transferred to a reconnaissance unit.
Carlon was later part of the Army of Occupation in Austria for 90 days. He stayed in a small mountainous town in the Alps before returning to the U.S.
"We were fortunate. I guess we were more fortunate than some. We only lost about 300 individuals all across our division," Carlon said.
Carlon returned to work at the National Dairy Company in Grand Rapids. He then took tests with the Grand Rapids Police Department and ranked in the top 10 percent. He worked with the department for 35 years.
To learn more about retired Capt. Clifford's life in this 2008 Grand Valley State University's Veterans History Project Collection.