Frank Butner Clay – Major General, United States Army

Frank Butner Clay, 85, a retired Army Major General who was a veteran of two wars and a military adviser to the U.S.-Vietnamese delegation to the Paris peace talks in 1971, died of cardiac arrest December 30 at the Knollwood military retirement community in Washington.Born in Auburn, Alabama, General Clay was the son of Army General Lucius D. Clay Sr., military governor of the U.S. zone of occupied Germany after World War II, and a grandson of U.S. Senator Alexander Stephens Clay (D-Georgia).General Frank B. Clay, a longtime Chevy Chase resident, graduated from Millard Prep School in Washington and was a member of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point Class of 1942.

In World War II, he served with the 1st Armored Division in Tunisia and Italy as a platoon leader, company commander and operations executive of the division’s 13th Tank Battalion.

After various peacetime assignments and graduation from the National War College in 1961, he was sent to Vietnam, where he served about a year as a senior adviser to the 7th Vietnam Infantry Division. In 1967, he returned to Vietnam, where he served as commander of an advance party of the 101st Airborne Division and then as assistant division commander of the division.

General Clay had also been assistant division commander of the 101st Airborne Division in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and chief of staff at the Army Communications Zone in Europe. In the latter position, he helped with the evacuation of U.S. forces from France after French officials decided to withdraw from NATO in 1967.

His military awards included the Distinguished Service Medal, the Silver Star with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star with V and two Oak Leaf Clusters and the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster.

After his retirement from active military duty in 1973, General Clay devoted more time to his family, hobbies and interests. He was a football player and captain of his boxing team at West Point and in later years played squash and tennis at Chevy Chase Country Club.

A student of the U.S. Civil War, he visited and gave tours of battlefields.

His first wife, Patricia A. Clay, died in 1972, after 26 years of marriage.

Survivors include his wife of 33 years, Lydie W. Clay of Washington; three children from his first marriage, Frank B. Clay Jr. of Alexandria, Cathleen Ketcham of Germantown and Christine Tanski of Wilmington, Del.; and three grandchildren.

Colonel Frank B. Clay, 41, senior adviser to the Vietnamese 7th Division, who was slightly wounded last month when Viet Cong bullets ripped through the canopy of his helicopter. Father: General (ret.) Lucius D. Clay. World War II commander and lately President Kennedy’s special adviser on Berlin.

Major General Clay is the son of General Lucius D. Clay and the brother of Lucius D. Clay, Jr.  His wife, Patricia Adams Casey Clay, 1 November 1923-1 January 1973, lies at rest in Arlington National Cemetery.

General Clay was also the brother-in-law of Major Hugh B. Casey, who was killed-in-action in the Korean War.


Frank Butner Clay
Graduated West Point M. A., 1942
DIED: 30 December 2006


  • DATE OF BIRTH: 11/01/1923
  • DATE OF DEATH: 01/01/1973


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