Local News

Vietnam Veteran's Remains Finally Laid to Rest

Posted April 14, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Thirty years ago, a U.S. Marine A-4E fighter plane was shot out of the skies over South Vietnam, its pilot listed as killed in action. But it wasn't until January of this year that his remains were identified. This past weekend, the long ordeal for the pilot's Henderson family finally came to an end.

Marine Capt. W.C. Clay was finally laid to rest in his hometown Saturday. American Legion Commmander Julian Oliver was present at the funeral service. He said it was another of many stories coming to an end.

Captain Clay wasn't just a hometown hero, he was also an American hero. Marine jets flew over the service in tribute to the fallen hero, heard, but unseen above a thick cloud cover. On the ground, more than 100 mourners ignored rainy weather.

While the Vietnam War is over, Clay's funeral was a reminder to many of a battle that's still being waged by families and friends of soldiers still missing in action. Vietnam veteran John Herina said he came to pay tribute to a fellow veteran, even as he hopes for news of others.

Capt. Clay was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism and superior professional skill. He also received six Air Medals, the Gold Star, and a Purple Heart.