David R. Ray

David R. Ray
David Robert Ray
DavidRRay.jpg  A light blue neck ribbon with a gold star shaped medallion hanging from it. The ribbon is similar in shape to a bowtie with 13 white stars in the center of the ribbon.
David R. Ray as a U.S. Navy Hospital Corpsman
Born February 14, 1945(1945-02-14)
McMinnville, Tennessee
Died March 19, 1969(1969-03-19) (aged 24)
Quang Nam Province, Republic of Vietnam
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch United States Department of the Navy Seal.svg 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
Combat Action Ribbon
National Defense Medal
Vietnam Service Medal (with star)
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

David Robert "Bobby" Ray (February 14, 1945 to March 19, 1969) was a United States Navy sailor and a recipient of the United States military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in the Vietnam War.



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. He voluntarily 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.

David Ray's first assignment was to the Naval Hospital aboard USS Haven (AH-12). Following his tour on the hospital ship, he served at the naval hospital in Long Beach, California.

In May 1968, David Ray requested a tour of duty with the Marines. In July, after training at Camp Pendleton, he joined Battery D, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division (Reinforced), in the Republic of Vietnam.

While defending their fire base at Liberty Bridge, Phu Loc 6, near An Hoa against the intense hostile fire of a determined assault, Petty Officer Ray moved from parapet to parapet rendering emergency medical treatment to the wounded. He battled two enemy soldiers who attacked his position, killing one and wounding another. Although wounded himself, he refused medical treatment and advanced through the hail of enemy fire to continue his lifesaving efforts.

Petty Officer Ray's final act of heroism was to protect a Marine he was treating. Out of ammunition and severely wounded, he threw himself upon the injured Marine when a grenade landed nearby, thus saving his life when it exploded. In addition to Petty Officer Ray, ten Marines died in the battle. At the time of his death he was unmarried and held the rank of Petty Officer 2nd Class. His body was returned to the United States and was buried in Mountain View Cemetery McMinnville, Tennessee.

Awards and honors

David R. Ray received the Medal of Honor posthumously. In addition to the Medal of Honor he was awarded the Purple Heart Medal for wounds received in action, as well as the Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Medal, Vietnam Service Medal (with star) and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. His father was presented the Medal of Honor in a White House ceremony.

Medal of Honor citation

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.


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 wall

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

Other honors

See also


  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. 


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