- "But sometimes it's better to know when to quit instead of lying to yourself and hurting the ones you love."
- ―Clay Banning
Clay Banning (born February 8, 1941) is the father of Mike Banning and a Vietnam War veteran who lived as a survivalist. He aided Mike in defending his wife and daughter when Mike was framed for an assassination attempt on President Allan Trumbull.
Early Life and Military Career
Clay Banning was born in Fort Hood, Texas on February 8th, 1941 and was a decorated Army Ranger who served as a tunnel rat in the Vietnam War. In 1970, he gave birth to Mike Banning on Fort Hood. However, after the war, he suffered from severe PTSD and abandoned his family when Mike was young; this caused both of them to be estranged for years. He had since lived in wooded areas all over the U.S. as a survivalist, including Alaska, North Carolina and West Virginia.
Clay was present outside of his cabin in West Virginia when Mike went to find him. Upon seeing Mike's arrival, Clay aimed his sniper rifle at his own son and asked how he found him. Mike responded by telling him that he ran the Secret Service protection detail for President Allan Trumbull and recalled to his father that he had been in West Virginia for the past five years; North Carolina and Alaska prior to that. Remember the news of the assassination attempt on Trumbull and the news say that Mike was responsible for it, Mike revealed that he was set up by a friend of his named Wade Jennings and he has to find out who else was involved in the assassination plot.
At night, Clay and Mike observed Jennings' men approaching the house through surveillance cameras. Clay detonates explosives around the perimeter of the house, killing all the would-be attackers. They escaped and Mike had drawn map coordinates to Clay's house and used the cameras on the highway to lead the FBI to the bodies of Salient Global commandos. Before parting ways, Mike revealed to his father that he has a wife and daughter.
Upon seeing Mike's wife Leah and daughter Lynne on the verge of being kidnapped by Jennings' men at their residence, Clay quickly took them down before introducing himself to them as Mike's father and his personal life, even showing regrets for leaving his own family behind.
After the crisis ended in the U.S., Clay ultimately decided that he wanted to live with Mike and his family as he had vowed not to walk away from his family ever again. Later, Clay and Mike visited the Zero Gravity Center together in an attempt to relax as a bonding experience, before complaining when they were engulfed in darkness.
Prior to abandoning his family, Clay seemed to be a man loyal to his country as he was a decorated ranger in Vietnam who served as a tunnel rat. He also seemed to hold affection towards his wife Mary and his son Mike.
However, after the Vietnam War, he wasn't the man he used to be. He suffered from severe PTSD and then abandoned his family. It was this act that caused Mike and him to be estranged for years, as seen when Mike didn't believe that Clay had the privilege to call Mike his son after walking out on him and Mary and that Clay's "Big Brother" act meant nothing.
He also seems to be distrustful about politics as he believed that they turned their backs on everything he did and even easily accused the government of turning on Mike so quickly. The idea of war had also disillusioned Clay as he stated that the Korean War was no different than the Vietnam War or the wars in Iraq and that all armed conflicts were just a repeat of one another.
However, he is a man of truth as he admits that he did abandon Mike and states that it is better to stop rather than continuing lying. He also reveals that his true intention to leave his family was because he was a different man after the war and didn't want to leave a bad impression on his family as he stated that Mike wouldn't have liked him then at the time of Mike's childhood.
Afterwards, he deeply regrets the decisions he made and then intended not to repeat his same mistakes ever again, even bonding with Leah and Lynne and going with Mike to the Zero Gravity Center as a means to bond. Clay was also very resourceful and brave as his experiences in the Vietnam War helped Mike greatly as they were about to be ambushed by Salient Global commandos.
Behind the Scenes
- Angel Has Fallen (First appearance)