WILLIAM CLAY, JR., MAJ, USMC

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Birthdate & Date of Loss

Date of birth: January 2, 1919
Date of death: November 21, 1944
Age: 25

Lucky Bag

1941 Clay LB.jpg

From the 1941 Lucky Bag:

WILLIAM CLAY, JR.

Stephenville, Texas

Salt winds, gray hulls, sea blue—these were strange and new; yet Bill was adaptable and he thrived, even away from the plains, mountains, horses, dogs, hunting, and sweat-on-leather smells of Texas. He thrived for his outstanding trait was the enjoyment of living and that has given him the spark of success. To him plebe year was exciting, both from the curriculum and extra-curricular standpoint; youngster year became not so much a grind as an interesting experience; second and first class years were breezes. Bill is a splendid example of what good common sense can do.

His friendliness is spontaneous for him, infectious for others. He radiates good fellowship, cheer, and hearty cooperation. Therefore his friends are many. Action, too, is one of his musts; he is never inert. Swimming, basketball, football, Lacrosse, golf, tennis—all have claimed him.

Yet through all the intricate passages and reverses of his Academy career, he has retained his frank sincerity and naturalness; he is still himself without veneer; that is worthy of a man.

Football, 4, 1; Boxing 4, 3; Tennis 3; Boat Club 4, 3, 2, 1.

The Class of 1941 was the first of the wartime-accelerated classes, graduating in February 1941.

Loss

From Find A Grave:

Maj. Clay's plane, an FU4-1 Corsair, was hit by anti-aircraft fire and exploded during a bombing mission near Yap island. Yapese recovered his body from the ocean, buried him, and cared for the grave until the Americans came looking. At the end of the war, his remains were returned to the USA and reburied at Arlington.

The after-action report is available here.

His wife was listed as next of kin.


Class Navigation

Class of 1941
William is one of 59 members of the Class of 1941 in Memorial Hall.
<< Theodore Walker '41 Robert Dwyer '41 >>