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First Name: Ronald

Last Name: Ray

Birthplace: Cordele, GA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Atlanta, GA
Middle Name: Eric

Date of Birth: 07 December 1941

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Years Served: 1959-1980
Ronald Eric Ray

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Ronald Eric Ray
Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army
Medal of Honor Recipient
Vietnam War

Lieutenant Colonel Ronald Eric Ray is a retired U.S. Army officer and a recipient of the U.S. military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in the Vietnam War. He retired from the Army in 1980.

Ronald Eric Ray was born on 7 December 1941 (the day of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor) in Cordele, GA. He joined the Army from Atlanta, GA in 1959. On 19 June 1966, Ray was serving as a First Lieutenant in Company A, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. On that day in the Ia Drang Valley of the Republic of Vietnam, Ray eliminated several enemy positions single-handedly and then shielded his men from an enemy-thrown grenade with his own body. He survived his wounds and was subsequently promoted to Captain and awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions.

Medal of Honor

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Capt. Ray distinguished himself while serving as a platoon leader with Company A. When 1 of his ambush patrols was attacked by an estimated reinforced Viet Cong company, Capt. Ray organized a reaction force and quickly moved through 2 kilometers of mountainous jungle terrain to the contact area. After breaking through the hostile lines to reach the beleaguered patrol, Capt. Ray began directing the reinforcement of the site. When an enemy position pinned down 3 of his men with a heavy volume of automatic weapons fire, he silenced the emplacement with a grenade and killed 4 Viet Cong with his rifle fire. As medics were moving a casualty toward a sheltered position, they began receiving intense hostile fire. While directing suppressive fire on the enemy position, Capt. Ray moved close enough to silence the enemy with a grenade. A few moments later Capt. Ray saw an enemy grenade land, unnoticed, near 2 of his men. Without hesitation or regard for his safety he dove between the grenade and the men, thus shielding them from the explosion while receiving wounds in his exposed feet and legs. He immediately sustained additional wounds in his legs from an enemy machinegun, but nevertheless he silenced the emplacement with another grenade. Although suffering great pain from his wounds, Capt. Ray continued to direct his men, providing the outstanding courage and leadership they vitally needed, and prevented their annihilation by successfully leading them from their surrounded position. Only after assuring that his platoon was no longer in immediate danger did he allow himself to be evacuated for medical treatment. By his gallantry at the risk of his life in the highest traditions of the military service, Capt. Ray has reflected great credit on himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

After his retirement from the Army, Ray later served as an Assistant Secretary in the Department of Veterans Affairs from 1989 to 1993.

Honoree ID: 1066   Created by: MHOH




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