Beirne Lay Jr.

Managing Real Estate Broker with Fathom Realty PB00068179

Beirne Lay Jr., was born in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia back in 1909.  He attended St. Paul’s School in Concord and Yale University graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1931.  He enlisted in the United States Army in 1932, shortly he began pilot training at Randolph Field, Texas.

He earned his pilot’s wings in 1932, commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army Reserve at Kelly Field.  He was assigned to the 20th Bombardment Squadron at Langley Field, Virginia.  In 1935, he left active duty but remained a Reserve officer being promoted to 1st lieutenant in 1936.  He worked for The Sportsman Pilot becoming its managing editor.  He returned to active duty just after the outbreak of WWII in 1939.  He was transferred to Headquarters USAAC in Washington, D.C. in early 1940.  He was promoted to captain working primarily as a speechwriter for General Henry. H. Arnold.

In 1943, he was granted permission to obtain combat experience.  He was assigned to the 100th Bomb Group stationed at RAF Thorpe Abbotts.  He was discharged after the war, where he died in Westwood, Los Angeles in. 1982, he was 72.

What you may not know about Beirne is that he was also a Hollywood screenwriter.  He collaborated with Sy Bartlett who wrote Twelve O’Clock High, adapting it into a major film.  He also helped with the production of Strategic Air Command.

NW Arkansas, come for a visit, stay for a lifetime.


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NW Arkansas the home of WalMart, JB Hunt Trucking and Tyson Foods.


Come for a visit stay for a lifetime.  



Comments (17)

Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning James. Beirnie was a talented guy putting his thoughts on paper and he had the opportunity to live his dream. Enjoy your day 

May 02, 2021 02:39 AM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co. Notary Services, retired Realtor

Good morning James. I am at my daughters in Milwaukee and she is just heading off to her USAF Guard weekend. I will share this with her when she comes back.

May 02, 2021 03:08 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello James - so many Hollywood tales are behind-the-scenes stories - this is another good example.   

May 02, 2021 04:12 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, James, for sharing this story.

Take care, be safe and have a great day.

May 02, 2021 04:23 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

James Dray good Sunday morning, James... a man of many talents... and a brave one, as well.

May 02, 2021 04:51 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning James - I was waiting for the revealing name that we all must know.

May 02, 2021 05:04 AM
Raymond E. Camp
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Ontario, NY
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester

Good morning James,

Amazing how writers can make someone look better than they really are!

I know I would need one!

Make yourself an astonishing day.

May 02, 2021 05:14 AM
Brian England
Vacasa - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

Am I the only one that really misses the photos of these people that Barbara Todaro would post for us?

May 02, 2021 07:27 AM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

I can't believe what some screenwriter's would do to gain knowledge back in WW2. Today I feel most just use their imagination or talk to some that may have served. Thank you for sharing, as always James Dray 

May 02, 2021 08:51 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello James and wow what a  career he had and serve his country also.  Thanks for the history lesson.


May 02, 2021 09:34 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


Screen writing is an accomplishment, and this was one of your interesting stories once again. A

May 02, 2021 09:40 AM
Rocky Dickerson
Realty One Group - Las Vegas, NV
Superior Service!

Hello there James Dray thank you for another very interesting story today

May 02, 2021 10:36 AM
Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty
Waves Realty - Melbourne, FL
Florida Space Coast Homes

Another interesting life very well lived. Thanks for the short bio on Mr. Lay.

May 02, 2021 11:22 AM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Wow- James- I am familiar with both films!!! What an interesting man. 

May 02, 2021 12:34 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

I used to love the TV show 12 O'Clock High and watched it religiously:) This is one for you for the Month of May keep it up James:)))Endre

May 02, 2021 11:29 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi James:

Right again...I did NOT know that about him. He was a man of many talents.


May 03, 2021 08:05 AM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

Twelve O’Clock High was played by Gregory Peck. The box office earning was just 3.25M then.

May 18, 2021 11:55 AM