Major Clayton Tyson – Hometown Hero

Major, (Retired) Clayton Tyson served his country for 20 years and 1 month of active duty service in the United States Air Force. During his 20+ years of service, he served as Deputy Crew Commander Minuteman Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), Crew Commander Minuteman ICBM, Pilot KC-135R, Aircraft Commander KC-135R, Instructor/Evaluator KC-135R, Instructor/Evaluator T-34C, Training Squadron 10 Assistant Director of Operations, 99 Air Refueling Squadron Assistant Director of Operations, and 19 Air Refueling Group Chief Plans and Programs.

During his service to country, he deployed in support of numerous operations which included; Operations PROVIDE COMFORT, SOUTHERN WATCH, NORTHERN WATCH, PHOENIX SCORPION, NOBLE ANVIL, DESERT FOX, ALLIED FORCE, IRAQI FREEDOM, and ENDURING FREEDOM. Clay also served in the Green Zone with the 350 Civil Affairs Company, Multi-National Force-Iraq as Director of Movement Ops Cell where his actions helped to lay the groundwork to hand over Baghdad International Airport operations to a new, sovereign Iraq.

Clay logged 5,298 total military flying hours and 1,658 flights, which include 159 combat/combat support flights.

Among his decorations are the Meritorious Service Medal (3), Air Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal (3), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal (2), Air Force Achievement Medal (2), Combat Readiness Medal (2), National Defense Service Medal (2), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (2), Kosovo Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal (2 Bronze Stars) , Afghanistan Campaign Medal (2 Bronze Stars), Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and Humanitarian Service Medal. Additionally, Clay has been awarded the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (8), Air Force Expeditionary Service Award with Gold Border (2), Air Force Longevity Award (4), and Air Force Training Award.

Clay received his Air Force commission through the Air Force ROTC program and an Undergraduate in Criminal Justice degree from Valdosta State College (University) in June 1990. His military professional training and education include Undergraduate Missile Training, Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training, Squadron Officer School (in residence), and Air Command and Staff College (correspondence).

After his retirement from the USAF, Clay was hired as a pilot for Southwest Airlines.

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