The Bronze Star medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Purple Heart were posthumously awarded to 1Lt. William Ellis Gay, Jr., Company E, 3rd Battalion, 22nd Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, United States Army.
First Lieutenant William Ellis Gay, Jr. was born at Walter Reed Hospital May 21, 1945. His father was a major in the United States Army. His family returned to Atlanta in 1945 and he grew up in the Collier Hills neighborhood.
As a child, he would come and play at Villa Clare (named for Lt. Gay's Great Grandmother), which is now Shepherd's Spinal Center at 2020 Peachtree Rd. Lt. Gay attended Christ the King School and completed course work in 1958; attended Marist School and graduated 1963. After graduating from the University of Georgia 1967, Lt. Gay joined the Army and went to basic training at Ft. Benning in Columbus, Georgia. Upon completion, he was accepted into the officer candidate school at Ft. Benning and graduated as a 2nd Lt. Infantry Officer, class no.56, March 1969.
After stateside duty, he received orders assigning him to the 25th Infantry Division then stationed in Chu Chi, Vietnam. Lt. Gay arrived in Vietnam in 1969 and became a platoon leader for Company E, 3rd Battalion, 22nd Regiment, 25th Infantry Division.
On May 30, 1970, Lt. Gay, the reconnaissance platoon leader, was in his jeep and charged with providing security for a convoy. At approximately 3:20 P.M. the convoy received enemy rocket propelled grenade fire and Lt. Gay was killed by enemy fire. A memorial service was conducted by his unit in Vietnam and thereafter his remains were shipped home and now lie in West View Cemetery.
Lt. Gay's devotion to duty, and that of his fallen comrades was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Army. He bravely gave his life for his country.