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.