Captain Boyd L. Barclay graduated Oklahoma State University in 1963 and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps and served two tours in Vietnam. During his first tour, in 1965, he served as a Fire Support Coordinator. He returned stateside and attended the U.S. Naval Aviation Flight School, U.S. Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida. After flight training he returned to Vietnam in 1967 as a Helicopter Gunship Pilot.
On 8 June 1967 he launched as a co-pilot of a UH-1E (Huey) helicopter assigned to a visual reconnaissance mission near Khe Sanh, South Vietnam. His helicopter came under intense enemy automatic weapons fire killing the pilot and severing Captain Barclay's left hand. Using his bloody stump he was able to safely land the aircraft. For heroic action he was awarded the Silver Star Medal and received the Purple Heart and Air Medal. Captain Barclay served as National Commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart from 1998-1999.