On November 15, 2015, General Slay died at age 91 of blood cancer at Fauquier Hospital in Warrenton, VA. He was born on Veterans Day, November 11, 1924 in Crystal Springs, Mississippi.
In his 39-year military career, he accumulated over 9000 hours of flying time and was a fighter pilot in the Korean and the Viet Nam Wars. He flew every fighter and attack aircraft in the USAF inventory including 50 different models of fighter aircraft starting with the P-40, F-15, F-16, F-18, F-4, F-89, F-94, F-104, F-105, F-111, MIG-17, MIG-21 and the MIG-23. He also flew the B-1A, B-52, U-2 and SR-71 Blackbird Spy plane, ulitmately being fully qualified in 82 different aircraft.
General Slay grew up in a farming family during the Great Depression. At age 18, he enlisted in the U.S. Army for Basic Soldier Training after which he attended Flight Cadet School, first flying the P-40 and earning his wings in February, 1944. He earned two degrees from George Washington University, was a graduate of Harvard University's Advanced Management Program and the Canadian
Prior to being promoted to Brigadier General, Slay was a Group Commander, Squadron Commander, Flight Wing Commander, but primarily a Fighter Pilot, Interceptor Pilot and High Altitude Reconnaissance Aircraft Pilot. He seved in the Korean War as a Group Combat Operations Officer for the 8th Fighter Bomber Wing, flying the F-86. As a Wing Commander in Europe, General Slay directed and flew classified high altitude RB-57F missions and was promoted to Brigadier General. As a Major General directing 7th Air Force Operations at Ton Sun Nhut Air Base, he flew 181 combat missions in the F-4 and A-37.
General Slay became Commander of Air Force Systems Command, Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland as a Four-Star General. Previously, he was a BOMARC Missile Commander. He also commanded the Air Force Flight Test Center at Edwards AFB in California, where he flew in space in a modified NF-104 and was rocket-boosted flying above 100, 000 feet. He wore the Senior Air Force Parachutist Badge and the Senior Missleman Badge.
General Slay continued to fly the single seat F-15 until the day before the retired from the Air Force in February 1981 He was responsible for the annual Air Force Systems Command Budget of over $21B with greater than 130 billion in active government contracts.
General Slay was a brilliant General, known for his excellent combat leadership and major contributions to the greatest Air Force fighters in the world.
In his retirement years, General Slay founded a highly successful system engineering firm, known as Slay Enterprises, Inc. He ran 27 marathons and won numerous gold medals in Virginia Cycling, in both 10k and 20k races. He was an active member of the Fauquier Club for several years.
In General Slay's 91 years, he was most proud of his marriage to Jean, which was three months shy of 72 years. He is also survived by his son Dave, daughter-in-law, Dorise, several grandchildren and a nephew, Jerry Hutchins.
Friends are invited to a funeral service on Saturday, December 5 at 1:00 PM at Moser Funeral Home, 233 Broadview Ave, Warrenton, VA. Burial at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors will be at a future date.
Our fine facility has ample parking, offers two chapels, family rooms, parlors, and an on-site crematory. Operated since 1836 - we are the oldest continuously operated business in Fauquier County, VA and centrally located in the county and close to most nursing homes and the hospital.