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First Name: David

Last Name: Ray

Birthplace: McMinnville, TN, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Navy (present)

Rating: Hospital Corpsman Petty Officer 2nd Class

Home of Record: Nashville, TN
Middle Name: Robert

Date of Birth: 14 February 1945

Date of Death: 19 March 1969

Rank or Rate: Petty Officer Second Class

Years Served: 1966 - 1969
David Robert Ray

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


David Robert 'Bobby' Ray
Hospital Corpsman Second Class, U.S. Navy
Medal of Honor Recipient
Vietnam War

Hospital Corpsman Second Class David Robert "Bobby" Ray (14 February 1945 - 19 March 1969) was a U.S. Navy sailor who was posthumously awarded the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in the Vietnam War.

David Robert Ray was born on 14 February 1945 to David F. and Donnie M. Ray of McMinnville, TN. 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, TN on 28 March 1966 and reported to Recruit Training Command, Naval Training Center, San Diego, CA.

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, CA.

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.

On 19 March 1969, 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. For his heroic self-sacrifice, Ray was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

Medal of Honor

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, 19 March 1969.

Entered service at: Nashville, TN. Born: 14 February 1945, McMinnville, TN.

Citation: 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.

On 20 April 1970, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew presented Hospital Corpsman Second Class David R. Ray's Medal of Honor to his father in a White House ceremony.

Medals and Awards

Medal of Honor
Purple Heart Medal
Combat Action Ribbon
National Defense Medal
Vietnam Service Medal with 1 Star
Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

Vietnam Veterans Memorial

David Robert Ray's name is inscribed on Panel 29W, Row 082.


• The destroyer USS David R. Ray (DD-971), named in the corpsman's honor, was launched on 23 August 1974. It was the ninth Spruance-class destroyer and the fifth ship of that class to join the Pacific Fleet. On 28 February 2002, after more than 24 years of service, the ship was decommissioned at Naval Station Everett in Washington.
David R. Ray Branch Medical Clinic, providing dental and medical care for beneficiaries in the Naval Station Everett area
David R. Ray (Battery D 2nd Battalion 11th Marines 1969) Naval Branch Medical/Dental Clinic, Camp Pendleton, CA
"Ray Hall, Naval Medical and Dental Clinic, The Basic School," Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA.
Ray Hall, military housing hall, Camp Pendleton, CA - dedicated 22 June 1974
• Highway 70S Bypass in McMinnville, TN
"Bobby Ray Memorial Elementary School" in McMinnville, TN.
Ray Clinic/Ray immunizations, USA MEDDAC, Ft. Huachuca, AZ

Death and Burial

Hospital Corpsman Second Class David Robert Ray was killed in action on 19 March 1969. He is buried at Mountain View Cemetery in McMinnville, TN.

Honoree ID: 1065   Created by: MHOH




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