Sergeant Major Timothy O. Clay enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1998 and completed recruit training at MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion in July of 1998. Following recruit training, PFC Clay (Meritoriously) attended Marine Combat Training at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Upon completion, PFC Clay attended the (3051) Basic Warehousing Course at Camp Johnson, North Carolina. In November of 1998, PFC Clay reported to 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division at Camp Horno, Camp Pendleton, California.
PFC Clay was promoted to Lance Corporal in February of 1999. He held the billets of Warehouse Chief, Personal Effects Chief, and served as the H&S Company guidon bearer in addition to serving as the Battalion Organizational Colors bearer. In June of 1999, LCpl Clay deployed with the 11th MEU, BLT 1/1 aboard the USS Peleliu. During this deployment, LCpl Clay participated in the humanitarian effort Operation STABILISE INTERFET East Timor, Indonesia and Operation SOUTHERN WATCH in the Persian Gulf. Upon return from deployment, LCpl Clay was promoted to the rank of Corporal in April of 2000.
In June of 2001, Cpl Clay deployed with the 15th MEU, BLT 1/1 once again aboard the USS Peleliu. During this deployment, Cpl Clay participated in operation ENDURING FREEDOM in Afghanistan. While at forward operating base Camp Rhino, Cpl Clay was hand selected to serve as the NCOIC for the Al-Qaeda detainee guard force. While in Afghanistan, Cpl Clay was promoted to Sergeant in November 2001. In April of 2002, Sgt Clay reported to Marine Corps University, MCB Quantico, Virginia. During this tour, he served as the Warehouse Chief and NCOIC of the SNCO academy supply warehouse supporting all major courses, classes and schools.
In April of 2004, Sgt Clay reported to Drill Instructor School class 3-04 at MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina graduating as the class “Leadership/Gung Ho” award recipient. Sgt Clay was initially assigned to Kilo Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, in which he served two cycles before being re-assign to India Company. On 2 July 2006, Sgt Clay was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant (Meritoriously). Prior to completing his tour, he reported to the SNCOA Camp Lejeune, North Carolina as a student for Career Course Class 4-07 graduating as the “leadership/Gung Ho” award recipient. He completed a successful tour on the drill field having served as a Drill Instructor, Experienced Drill Instructor, Senior Drill Instructor, and Weapons Field Training Instructor.
In July of 2007, SSgt Clay received orders to MWSG-17, 1st MAW, Okinawa Japan. SSgt Clay served as the PSD-17 Company 1stSgt. During this tour, SSgt Clay participated in operations ULCHI FOCUS LENS in Korea, COBRA GOLD in Thailand, and the humanitarian relief effort CARING RESPONSE following the catastrophic mudslides in Myanmar formally known as Burma.
In August of 2008, SSgt Clay received orders to The Basic School, MCB Quantico for a second tour serving as Company GySgt for H&S Company, Instructor Battalion. During this tour, SSgt Clay was selected as the winner of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command meritorious GySgt selection board. On 2 April 2009 he was promoted to the rank of Gunnery Sergeant (Meritoriously). GySgt Clay reported to Officer Candidate School as a summer augments Sergeant Instructor for Golf Company in June of 2009. He was selected as the most outstanding Drill Instructor for two consecutive six-week cycles. Upon his return to The Basic School in September of 2010, GySgt Clay received orders to Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to serve as the Assistant Marine Officer Instructor (AMOI).
During a successful tour as an AMOI, GySgt Clay was selected and promoted to First Sergeant on 1 September 2013. 1stSgt Clay executed orders to Combat Logistics Battalion 4, Okinawa Japan, 3d MLG where he served as the Maintenance Company, Support Company and H&S Company 1stSgt completing multiple off-island operations and exercises. In December of 2015, 1stSgt Clay executed a permanent change of assignment to Headquarters Company, Headquarters Regiment, 3d MLG where he served until December 2016.
In January of 2017, 1stSgt Clay received orders to 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, California where he served as the Camp Services Company and Headquarters Company 1stSgt. From June 2017 to January 2018, 1stSgt Clay served as the 1st Marines bravo command regimental SgtMaj.
In January of 2018, he was promoted to his current rank of Sergeant Major and received orders to Recruiting Station (RS) Atlanta to assume all duties as the RS Sergeant Major.
His personal decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with two gold stars in lieu of third award, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with three gold stars in lieu of fourth award, and the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal with one Silver Star in lieu of sixth award.