Welcome to Arkansas State University!

Jerrell "Jay" Hamby

Colonel, United States Army

Deputy Commanding Officer For Training, National Training Center

Colonel Jay Hamby is a native of New Orleans, LA but moved to Mansfield, AR as a child. He began his military career with the United States Marine Corps, serving with the 1st Regiment, 1st Marine Division during the Korean War (1951-1953). He returned to Arkansas to earn a Bachelor of Science in Education (BSE) from Arkansas Polytechnic College (APC; now Arkansas Tech University). Upon obtainment of his BSE in 1958, APC's Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program commissioned then-2LT Hamby as an Active Duty Armor officer.

Known in some circles as "The Grizzly," COL Hamby served in various staff and leadership positions to include Company Commander in the 5th Battalion, 40th Armor Regiment at Ft. Irwin, CA (1959-1960); Advisor to the 1st Troop, 6th Armored Cavalry Squadron, Army of the Republic of Vietnam (1965-1966), Assistant Professor of Military Science at then-Arkansas State College as it transitioned to Arkansas State University (1966-1968; 1969-1970); Executive Officer for the 2d Battalion, 502d Infantry of the 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile) in Vietnam (1968-1969); Commander of 2d Battalion, 63d Armor Regiment at Ft. Riley (1975-1977); and Deputy Commanding Officer for Training at the National Training Center, Ft. Irwin.

COL Hamby's awards and decorations include: Silver Star, Bronze Star Medal with "V" device for Valor (3 OLC), Air Medal with "V" device (numeral "11"), Purple Heart (5 OLC), Meritorious Service Medal (3 OLC), Army Commendation Medal, Combat Infantryman's Badge, and Aircrewman's Badge. Foreign Awards include the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry (Division Level) and Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry (Army Level), both with "V" device.

Tragically, COL Hamby was killed in 1985 as a result of injuries sustained when his jeep overturned in the training area of the National Training Center at Ft. Irwin. In testament to COL Hamby's lasting impression on his Soldiers, The Order of Hamby (also known as the "Grizzly Star") was created as an internal award of the 32d Guards Motorized Rifle Regiment. The award was intended to recognize "demonstrated tactical excellence and meritorious achievement," two attributes that COL Hamby unquestionably embodied.

Along with a legacy of courage under fire and professional excellence, COL Hamby left behind his wife, Wanda DuMond Hamby of Harker Heights, TX, four sons, Stevens Hamby of Little Rock, AR, Jerrell E. Hamby, Jr. of Harker Heights, TX, David Hamby of Wheatland, WI, Kurt Hamby of Weaverville, NC, and a sister, Shirley Magie of San Marcos, CA.