Our Students Become: F-16 Pilots & Flight Commanders

November 15th, 2014 | APSF-admin

Our Students Become:  F-16 Pilots & Flight Commanders

Aurora Public Schools students go on to achieve career and life milestones on pathways as diverse as the school district’s student population.

Alumni: Colonel Julian “Juice” Clay

High School:  Gateway High School

Year of Graduation: 1982

Post High School Path: Metro State College then Chapman University; Bachelors of Science in Engineering

Occupation: Director of Operations and F-16 Pilot, Colorado Air National Guard

Colonel Clay is responsible for the strategic planning and guidance for the future of 1500 officers and airmen in addition to being a fully qualified F-16 pilot. His missions include Homeland Defense as well as supporting Air Expeditionary Forces around the world. If this wasn’t enough, he also holds a part-time military position as a ‘traditional Guardsmen’ and flies the Airbus 320 for United Airlines out of Denver International Airport.

Col. Clay’s first job was work training pilots in the air simulator. He also maintained the simulators as an electronics technician using his engineering degree. It was in the flight simulator that he was exposed to combat aviation and the pilots performing combat missions. He uncovered his passion for flying and his thirty-one years and counting dedication to his Colorado Air National Guard career.

Strong leadership skills, a strong background in math and science and physical health have helped Col. Clay achieve success in his career. He was helped along the way with strong mentors in the Air National Guard and tuition assistance from his service in the military. His networking within the Air National Guard helped land Col. Clay a job with Martin Marietta–nowLockheed Martin where he could work full time and attend night school until he earned his degree and received his commission as a military officer and became a pilot.

Col. Clay’s career to date is decorated with leadership and honor, including:

  • Four combat deployments to Iraq and Kuwait
  • Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Ariel Achievement Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, Global War on Terrorism
  • Flight Commander, Aerospace Control Alert Officer in Charge, Operational Support Squadron Operations Officer, State Director of Operations

Colonel Clay serves on the Aurora Public Schools Foundation and is a strong advocate for scholarship and education in Aurora where his parents still reside.

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