Office of U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, Associated Press
This 2009 photo provided by the office of U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, shows Menlo Park resident Carl Clark, left, given a proclamation and a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol by U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto. It was announced Dec. 22, 2011 that Clark will be formally presented in January 2012 with the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with the Combat Distinguished Device for his service during World War II.

SAN FRANCISCO — A Northern California congresswoman says a black Navy veteran credited with saving the lives of some of his shipmates during a battle in World War II will be getting a long-awaited medal for his heroism.

U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo said Thursday that after a delay of 66 years, Carl Clark of Menlo Park will be awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with the Combat Distinguished Device in January.

Clark was serving as a steward aboard the USS Aaron Ward in May 1945 when Japanese kamikazes attacked near Okinawa.

Though he suffered a broken collarbone in the attack, Clark was credited with dragging men to safety and dousing a fire in an ammunition locker that could have sunk the ship.

The congresswoman and the 95-year-old Clark both say the recognition took so long because of racism.