A native of Alexandria, Virginia, son of the distinguished Gen. Lucius D. Clay, Sr., and member of a family of dedicated public servants, Gen Lucius D. Clay, Jr., spent much time as a youth with his grandmother Frances Clay in Marietta, Georgia. He attended Waterman Street School and Marietta High School before graduating from U. S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. He received his pilot wings at Lubbock Field, Texas, in 1942 and was assigned as an instructor to Martin B-26 Transition School at Fort Worth and Del Rio, Texas. In 1943 Clay assumed command of the 616th Bombardment Squadron and later that year joined the 344th Bombardment Squadron in which he served as operations officer and squadron commander before becoming a group commander in the European theater. As a bomber pilot he flew the controversial B-26 Marauder. At the end of World War II, he remained in Erding, Germany, as Deputy Commander and Deputy for Base Services with the European Air Depot until his return to the States in 1947. Then came two years on the staff of the Deputy Chief of Staff Operations for Atomic Energy at Headquarters U. S. Air Force. This was followed by a tour of duty at University and Air War College, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. Throughout the 1950s and 60s, General Clay's assignments included the Air Force Joint Strategic Plans Group in the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the post of Deputy Commander of the 72nd Bombardment Wing, Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico. Promoted to General in 1970, he and his father were among the first father-son pairs to attain four-star rank in the annals of the military. He commanded the Seventh Air Force at Tan Son Nhut Air Base during the Vietnam War and was named Commander-in-Chief for the Pacific Air Forces, Hickam AFB, Hawaii, in 1971. In 1973 General Clay became Commander-in-Chief, North American Air Defense (NORAD-Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) and Aerospace Defense Command (ADC). Headquartered at Ent AFB, Colorado, General Clay had operational command of all United States and Canadian strategic aerospace defense forces and was responsible for the air defense of the North American continent and for global aerospace surveillance and warning assessment of hostile attack from space. The General was a command pilot. His awards and decorations included the distinguished Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Air Medal with two silver oak leaf clusters, Purple Heart, Croix de Guerre Etoile de Vermeil, National Order of Vietnam, Vietnam Air Force Distinguished Service Order, Korea National Security Medal and the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry.
General Clay retired in 1975 and passed away in 1994. General Lucius D. Clay, Jr., a great leader and guardian of the skies in war and peace, was enshrined May 17, 1997.