Distinguished Alumnus Award. This award is the highest honor given by the Alumni Association and recognizes an individual who has distinguished themselves in an outstanding manner and has brought honor to themselves and to GMC. It is presented for service to humanity and dedication that exemplifies the core values of “Duty, Honor, Country” and the regimental accolade of “Character Above All” in their personal and professional life.
LTC Duane Clayton’s outstanding success in the military and beyond stems from a deep love of his country and desire to serve others around him. His life truly exemplifies the GMC core values of “Duty, Honor, Country” and “Character Above All.” LTC Clayton’s leadership and passion for student success has propelled the current GMC Corps of Cadets to great heights in recent years.
LTC Clayton graduated from the Bradwell Institute in 1977 and began at GMC Junior College as a member of the 100th Corps of Cadets. He credits choosing to attend GMC as being the wisest decision he ever made. Upon completing his associate degree at GMC, LTC Clayton was hired by MG Salet, the President of GMC at the time, to be the first TAC Officer to live in the barracks while he attended Georgia College and State University. During that time, LTC Clayton’s aspirations changed from teaching/coaching to pursuing a career in the Army. Upon completing his education at Georgia College, he entered the Army in December 1982. He attended the officer Basic Course in Fort Sill, OK and was stationed at Fort Stewart, GA for all his lieutenant years. LTC Clayton served in Germany for seven years in the 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) in Wurzburg and Schweinfurt, where he was a Field Artillery Intelligence Officer, Fire Support Officer, Battalion Motor Officer, Battalion Adjutant, and Battery Commander.
After leaving 3ID, he was an observer controller at 7th Army Training Center, Hohenfels. He then went to Fort Bragg, NC where he became the Training Officer of the First Region ROTC of Cadet Command. After two years in ROTC, LTC Clayton became the Field Artillery Intelligence Officer for the Corps Artillery, XVIII Airborne Corps, and then Operations Officer of the Multiple Launch Rocket System Battalion, 3-27 FA. He also served in Heidelberg, Germany as the Inspections Chief of the V Corps Inspector General’s Office. He reinstituted a Corps level inspections program at the direction of LtGen John W. Hendrix. After completing this assignment, he went back to Fort Stewart to become the Battalion Commander of 2nd of the 306th FA where he assisted in the preparation of many units to go into harm’s way after 9/11. He then became the Inspector General of 3ID which deployed to Iraq twice. LTC also served as Assistant to the Garrison Commander to lead the Welcome Home and 4th of July Celebration for the Division as they returned from Iraq. His final duty in the Army was to serve as the Brigade Operations Officer of the 157th Infantry Brigade, where he and his team were responsible for deploying three National Guard Brigades, Vermont, Iowa, and Mississippi, to either Iraq or Afghanistan in eighteen months.
LTC Clayton retired from the Army in December 2010 and embarked on a new career in JROTC at Dyer County High School in Newbern, TN. After two years, LTC Clayton returned home to Georgia Military College to become a TAC Officer and impact the next generation of military leaders. He was promoted to Deputy Commandant and then reassigned to his current position of Operations Officer, where he plans to serve until retirement in March of 2023. As Operations Officer, he evaluates what the Cadets must do on an annual basis, such as the Dining In, service events in the community, and conducts uniform and room inspections. He also serves as the Rifle Team Coach and is a key figure and mentor to the entire Corps of Cadets.
LTC Clayton and his wife, Karen, have been married for almost 40 years. He is a proud father of two sons, Duane (married to Skylea) and Jason (married to Traci), and he has four adorable grandchildren.