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David Robert Ray
David R. Ray as a U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman
Born (1945-02-14)February 14, 1945
Died March 19, 1969(1969-03-19) (aged 24)
Place of birth McMinnville, Tennessee
Place of death Quang Nam Province, Republic of Vietnam
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1966 - 1969
Rank Hospital Corpsman Second Class
Unit 2nd Battalion, 11th Marines
Battles/wars Vietnam War
Awards Medal of Honor
Purple Heart Medal
Combat Action Ribbon
Presidential Unit Citation

David Robert "Bobby" Ray (February 14, 1945 to March 19, 1969) was a United States Navy Hospital Corpsman Third Class who was killed in action during the Vietnam War while assigned to an artillery battery of the United States Marine Corps. He was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously, for his heroic actions on March 19, 1969.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Ray was born on February 14, 1945 to David F. and Donnie M. Ray of McMinnville, Tennessee. He graduated from City High School in McMinnville in 1963. He was a University of Tennessee Alumni Scholarship winner and attended classes at the Knoxville campus from 1963 to 1966.

U.S. Navy[edit | edit source]

Ray enlisted in the U.S. Navy in Nashville, Tennessee on March 28, 1966 and reported to Recruit Training Command, Naval Training Center, San Diego, California. Afterwards, he attended the former Naval Hospital Corps School in San Diego and became a hospital corpsman. His first assignment as a corpsman was aboard the USS Haven (AH-12). Following his tour on the hospital ship, he served at the former U.S. Naval Hospital in Long Beach, California.

Vietnam[edit | edit source]

In May 1968, David Ray requested a tour of duty with the Fleet Marine Force and was sent to Camp Pendleton for battlefield training as a corpsman. On July 12, he was sent to Vietnam and assigned to Battery D, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division (Reinforced), located at An Hoa, South Vietnam.

Death[edit | edit source]

In the early morning of March 19, 1969, Fire Support Base Phu Loc 6, adjacent to Liberty Bridge near An Hoa in Quang Nam province, was attacked by an estimated battalion of North Vietnamese soldiers. Ray moved from parapet to parapet during the attack rendering medical aid to the wounded Marines. While doing this he was seriously wounded and then had to confront two enemy soldiers attacking his position, killing one and wounding another. He refused the aid he needed and advanced through the hail of enemy fire to continue his lifesaving efforts.

Navy corpsman Ray's final act of heroism was to protect a Marine he was treating after he had run out of ammunition holding back the enemy. He placed himself upon the wounded Marine after he seen a grenade land near them. By doing so, he saved the Marine's life and lost his own when it exploded. In addition to Ray, eleven Marines from his unit died in the attack and two Marines and one Navy corpsman were also killed nearby at the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines command post.

Burial[edit | edit source]

He was unmarried. His body was returned to the United States and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery McMinnville, Tennessee.

Military decorations & awards[edit | edit source]

David R. Ray received the Medal of Honor posthumously. His father was presented the Medal of Honor on his son's behalf in a White House ceremony.

Medal of Honor
Purple Heart Medal
Combat Action Ribbon
Presidential Unit Citation
National Defense Service Medal
Bronze star
Bronze star
Vietnam Service Medal with FMF Combat Operations Insignia and two service stars
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with 1960- Bar
Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation with palm and frame
Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Unit Citation with palm and frame

Medal of Honor citation[edit | edit source]

Rank and organization: Hospital Corpsman Second Class, U.S. Navy, 2d Battalion, 11th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein), FMF. Place and date: Quang Nam Province, Republic of Vietnam, March 19, 1969. Entered service at: Nashville, Tenn. Born: February 14, 1945, McMinnville, Tenn.

Citation[edit | edit source]

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a HM2 with Battery D, 2d Battalion, at Phu Loc 6, near An Hoa. During the early morning hours, an estimated battalion-sized enemy force launched a determined assault against the battery's position, and succeeded in effecting a penetration of the barbed-wire perimeter. The initial burst of enemy fire caused numerous casualties among the marines who had immediately manned their howitzers during the rocket and mortar attack. Undaunted by the intense hostile fire, HM2 Ray moved from parapet to parapet, rendering emergency medical treatment to the wounded. Although seriously wounded himself while administering first aid to a marine casualty, he refused medical aid and continued his lifesaving efforts. While he was bandaging and attempting to comfort another wounded marine, HM2 Ray was forced to battle two enemy soldiers who attacked his position, personally killing one and wounding the other. Rapidly losing his strength as a result of his severe wounds, he nonetheless managed to move through the hail of enemy fire to other casualties. Once again, he was faced with the intense fire of oncoming enemy troops and, despite the grave personal danger and insurmountable odds, succeeded in treating the wounded and holding off the enemy until he ran out of ammunition, at which time he sustained fatal wounds. HM2 Ray's final act of heroism was to protect the patient he was treating. He threw himself upon the wounded marine, thus saving the man's life when an enemy grenade exploded nearby. By his determined and persevering actions, courageous spirit, and selfless devotion to the welfare of his marine comrades, HM2 Ray served to inspire the men of Battery D to heroic efforts in defeating the enemy. His conduct throughout was in keeping with the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.[1]

Vietnam Veterans Memorial[edit | edit source]

His name appears on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall at panel 29W, row 082 in Washington, D.C.

Other honors[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. "Ray, David R.". Medal of Honor recipients: Vietnam War (M-Z). June 8, 2009. http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/vietnam-m-z.html. Retrieved December 9, 2007. 

References[edit | edit source]

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