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H. Clayton GARNER

Obituary
3 entries
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Garner, H. Clayton GARNER, Col. H. Clayton "Clay", USAF (Ret.), passed away peacefully surrounded by family on February 11, 2013 after a long battle with cancer at the age of 91. Clay proudly served his country for over 31 years as a decorated fighter pilot in the United States Air Force, which began shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor when he enlisted as an Aviation Cadet in 1942. Clay flew over 100 missions in the P-40 "Warhawk" and later the P-47 "Thunderbolt", and was awarded the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, and British Distinguished Flying Cross for his performance of duty while flying with 64th Fighter Squadron "Black Scorpions" as part of the 57th Fighter Group, which was assigned to the British 8th Army supporting General Montgomery's push west across North Africa in what was known as the "Desert Air Force." Before retiring from the Air Force at the rank of full Colonel in 1973, Clay would go on to fly the P-38 "Lightning" and P-51 "Mustang", and later become the US Air Force test pilot for the Boeing B-47 "Stratojet", the country's first swept-wing, multi-engine jet bomber, becoming one of the first multi-jet engine rated pilots in the country. In addition to the Silver Star, and American and British Distinguished Flying Cross, his military awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Air Medal with seven Oak Leaf Clusters, French Croix de Guerre, Air Force Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Presidential Unit Citation, European-African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with five Bronze Service Stars, American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Service Star, and the Air Force Longevity Service Award with seven Oak Leaf Clusters. After retiring from military service, Clay was proud to continue his work for veterans and their dependents from all branches of service after being appointed by President Clinton as Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Cemeteries and Memorials to the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, including working with local and national groups and individuals in the creation of a national cemetery in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Clay was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, and dear friend to many. He is survived by his wife Bonnie, his four children, Kenneth "Kip" Garner, and wife Judy, son Robert Garner, and wife Linda, daughter Nancy Payne, and husband Tom, son David Garner, and fiancée Susan Pierpont, and step-daughter Stacy Gloria, and husband Willie, and eight grandchildren, Arik Garner, and wife Kristi, Steven Garner, Adrianne Garner, Kelly Garner, Kathryn Garner, Thomas Payne, Christian Payne, and William Gloria, and four great-grandchildren, Ben, Zachary, Jackson, and Marilyn. Col. Garner and his family were additionally extremely fond of a number of caregivers who became like family during his final years. His entire family is particularly grateful to Tembe, Naomi, Yolanda, Bea, and Traci for their exceptional dedication and kindness to the man they called "The Colonel." Col. Garner will be buried Friday, February 15, 2013 at 10:00 AM at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery with Full Military Honors. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in his honor to UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.



Published in Dallas Morning News from Feb. 14 to Feb. 15, 2013
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