CLAY A. MITCHELL, JR., LCDR, USN

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Clay Mitchell, Jr. '41

Date of birth: July 2, 1918

Date of death: August 4, 1950

Age: 32

Lucky Bag

From the 1941 Lucky Bag:

1941 Mitchell LB.jpg

CLAY A. MITCHELL, JR.

Sikeston, Missouri

Clay hails from Missouri, and true to form, he must be shown to be thoroughly convinced. One must be careful, however, not to classify such a state of mind as one of obstinacy, for knowing Clay will soon make it apparent that this characteristic is the natural result of a conscientious desire for exact correctness. In addition, his sincere interest and his appreciation of other's capabilities make him an ideal companion in both work and play.

When Clay finally decided to come to the Academy it was after a year of college life. He left a lot of friends behind him, but his sunny disposition, good sense of humor, and ever present grin have won for him twice as many. He has taken no end of ribbing about his short stature, but nevertheless, this short stature has not seriously hindered his try for athletic fame. With the greatest of ease he made the wrestling team on his first attempt and in all probability he will win many more matches before his career is completed.

Wrestling Varsity 2, 1; Newman Club; Christmas Card Committee.


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

1941 Mitchell LB.jpg

CLAY A. MITCHELL, JR.

Sikeston, Missouri

Clay hails from Missouri, and true to form, he must be shown to be thoroughly convinced. One must be careful, however, not to classify such a state of mind as one of obstinacy, for knowing Clay will soon make it apparent that this characteristic is the natural result of a conscientious desire for exact correctness. In addition, his sincere interest and his appreciation of other's capabilities make him an ideal companion in both work and play.

When Clay finally decided to come to the Academy it was after a year of college life. He left a lot of friends behind him, but his sunny disposition, good sense of humor, and ever present grin have won for him twice as many. He has taken no end of ribbing about his short stature, but nevertheless, this short stature has not seriously hindered his try for athletic fame. With the greatest of ease he made the wrestling team on his first attempt and in all probability he will win many more matches before his career is completed.

Wrestling Varsity 2, 1; Newman Club; Christmas Card Committee.


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

Loss

Clay was lost on August 4, 1950 when the AD Skyraider he was piloting collided with another over the Atlantic near Mayport, Florida. The other pilot was rescued.

Other Information

From researcher Kathy Franz:

Clay was born in Missouri and lived in New Madrid in 1920. In 1930 his family lived in Memphis, Tennessee, where his father was in auto sales, his mother was Lucile, sisters Jennie and Katherine, and brothers Charles, Robert, and Jack. In 1944 his father bought the Sikeston Fruit Market. On 7/10/1944, Clay married Dorothy Droughan Webster at the St. Anne Catholic Church in Memphis.

Clay completed his high school in Sikeston and attended the State Teachers College in Cape Girardeau. After graduating from the Naval Academy, he participated in campaigns from Guadalcanal to the Gilberts and Marshalls. He served under Commander Andrew J. Hill of the Nicholas, where he participated in five major surface engagements. The ship suffered neither a direct shell nor bomb hit, although it was sprayed several times by shrapnel.

He was acting commanding officer of Attack Squadron (VA) 15 for a week just prior to his loss.

In September 1949 he was injured in an auto accident that killed the other driver.

His middle name was Alexander.

He has a memorial marker in Missouri; he was survived by his parents and possibly his wife. (As of 1945 he was married; he was reported as visiting his in-laws.)

Photographs

Navy Directories & Officer Registers

The "Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps" was published annually from 1815 through at least the 1970s; it provided rank, command or station, and occasionally billet until the beginning of World War II when command/station was no longer included. Scanned copies were reviewed and data entered from the mid-1840s through 1922, when more-frequent Navy Directories were available.

The Navy Directory was a publication that provided information on the command, billet, and rank of every active and retired naval officer. Single editions have been found online from January 1915 and March 1918, and then from three to six editions per year from 1923 through 1940; the final edition is from April 1941.

The entries in both series of documents are sometimes cryptic and confusing. They are often inconsistent, even within an edition, with the name of commands; this is especially true for aviation squadrons in the 1920s and early 1930s.

Alumni listed at the same command may or may not have had significant interactions; they could have shared a stateroom or workspace, stood many hours of watch together… or, especially at the larger commands, they might not have known each other at all. The information provides the opportunity to draw connections that are otherwise invisible, though, and gives a fuller view of the professional experiences of these alumni in Memorial Hall.

April 1941
Ensign, USS Somers

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at this command:
LT Randolph Boyer '27 (Destroyer Squadron 2)


Class of 1941

Clay is one of 60 members of the Class of 1941 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of alumni in Memorial Hall.