From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

John Lay '67

Date of birth: September 30, 1944

Date of death: April 17, 1971

Age: 26

Lucky Bag

From the 1967 Lucky Bag:


From the July-August 1971 issue of Shipmate:

Lt. John Paul Lay, USN, was killed on 17 April at sea near Cherry Point, N.C, as the result of an aircraft accident during night bombing practice under flare illumination. Funeral services were held 23 April in Broadmoor Presbyterian Church in Baton Rouge, La. Burial followed in Green Oaks Memorial Gardens.

The Baton Rouge native attended LSU for a year before entering the Naval Acad emy. After graduating in 1967, he attended North Carolina State University on the Immediate Master's Program. He received his advance degree in January 1968. He then attended flight school. Upon completion of that course he was assigned to VT-1 at Saufley Field.

Lt. Lay joined VT-24 later in Beeville, Tx. At the time of his death he was attached to the USS John F. Kennedy with VA-46.

Actively concerned with and involved in the affairs of his classmates and shipmates, he served as president of his class and was a Life Member of the Alumni Association.

Survivors include his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Donald Lay, 753 Lonita St., Baton Rouge, L A 70815.

He was piloting a A-7B Corsair II.


From the Class of 1967's 50th Reunion Yearbook, courtesy of William Belden '67:

"I saw John often while he was in the Brook Medical Center as I was a flight instructor at Corpus Christi at that time (68-69). I was in the middle of the Atlantic deploying to the Med in 1970 when the chaplain came to my room to notify me of his death. He apparently flew into the water on a night bombing run. His last words were, ‘I’ve lost it’. I could not fly home for the service due to the time it took for the Intrepid to cross the pond. His mother called to buy a Navy sword for his interment. She was residing in an assisted living facility as his father had died of a heart attack earlier. Johnny got me through the academy with his study habits.”
- Tom Decker

John was a Louisiana boy from Baton Rouge. His Father, John, and Mother, Pauline, were proud to see their son off to the Naval Academy. John earned stars each year for academics, graduated with honors and was selected to go to North Carolina State with three other classmates for a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering. John wanted to be an Astronaut so, upon completion of his Master’s program, he entered the Naval Flight program in Pensacola Florida. While going through jet transition in Beeville, Texas he ruptured his Achilles tendon during a basketball game and spent several months in rehab at the hospital in Brook Army Medical center, San Antonio. John went to the A-7 replacement air group in Cecil Field and then he joined VA-174. A few months later he was killed in an aircraft accident while flying off the USS Independence during a workup period. John served his country and would have made a great astronaut.

Class of 1967

John is one of 34 members of the Class of 1967 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

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