First Lieutenant Bernard J. Ray was a Platoon Leader with Company F, 8th Infantry, on 17 November 1944 during the drive through the Hurtgen Forest near Schovenhutte, Germany. The American forces attacked in wet, bitterly cold weather over rough, wooded terrain, meeting brutal resistance from positions spaced throughout the forest behind mine fields and wire obstacles. Small arms, machine gun, mortar and artillery fire caused heavy casualties in the ranks when Company F was halted by a concertina-type wire barrier. Under heavy fire, Lieutenant Ray reorganized his men and prepared to blow a path through the entanglement, a task which appeared impossible and from which others tried to dissuade him. With implacable determination to clear the way, he placed explosive caps in his pockets, obtained several bangalore torpedoes and then wrapped a length of highly explosive primer cord about his body. He dashed forward under direct fire, reached the barbed wire and prepared his demolition charge as mortar shells, which were being aimed at him alone, came steadily nearer his completely exposed position. He had placed a torpedo under the wire and was connecting it to a charger he carried when he was severely wounded by a bursting mortar shell. Apparently realizing that he would fail in his self-imposed mission unless he completed it in a few moments, he made a supremely gallant decision. With the primer cord still wound about his body and the explosive caps in his pockets, he completed a hasty wiring system and unhesitatingly thrust down on the handle of the charger, destroying himself with the wire barricade in the resulting blast. By the deliberate sacrifice of his life, Lieutenant Ray enabled his company to continue its attack, resumption of which was of positive significance in gaining the approaches to the Cologne Plain.

For his valorous actions and unheralded courage in the line of duty, Lieutenant Ray was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously, 22 September 1945.

Additional Information

Highest Award
Medal of Honor
Graduation Year
Year Inducted
Branch Of Service
First Lieutenant

Author Info

Profile photo ofhnrtech

hnr tech

Member since 4 years ago
View Profile

Contact Listing Owner

You are already logged in.

Please continue to browse.

Information Coming Soon.