Ronald E. Ray
Captain Ronald E. Ray entered active duty 19 June 1959 as a Private E1. His first assignment was with the 3d Armored Division in Germany where he served as a communications specialist. He was promoted to Specialist Fifth Class in 1961 and was made the Battalion Communications Chief. In 1963 he became part of the 7th Special Forces Group and later that year he qualified for and attended Infantry Officer Candidate School. He was commissioned a Second Lieutenant, Infantry in April 1964, a graduate of 52d Company, 5th Student Battalion. His first assignment as a commissioned officer he returned to Germany with the 2d Battalion, 509th Infantry, 8th Infantry Division as a platoon leader, communications platoon leader, and assistant battalion S3. Captain Ray’s first Vietnam tour occurred in 1966 with the 25th Infantry Division where, as a first lieutenant, he was a platoon leader. | The following year Ray was assigned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he commanded Company A, Special Forces Training Group. He returned to Indochina in 1968 with the 46th Special Forces Company in Thailand and then in 1969 with Headquarters, First Field Forces, Vietnam, where he served as Assistant Operations Officer, G3 Operations. He graduated from the Infantry Officer Advanced Course 23 July 1970, and continued his civilian education in Florida. | Captain Ray was awarded the Medal of Honor by the President of the United States on 14 May 1970 in recognition of his actions in the Republic of Vietnam on 19 June 1966. On that date when one of his ambush patrols was attacked by an estimated reinforced Viet Cong Company, Captain 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, Captain Ray began directing the reinforcement of the site. When an enemy position pinned down three of his men with a heavy volume of automatic weapons fire, he silenced the emplacement with a grenade and killed four 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, Captain Ray moved close enough to silence the enemy with a grenade. A few moments later Captain Ray saw an enemy grenade land, unnoticed, near two of his men. Without hesitation or regard for his own 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 machine gun, but nevertheless he silenced the emplacement with another grenade. Although suffering great pain from his wounds, Captain 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 conspicuous gallantry at the risk of his own life in the highest traditions of the military service, Captain Ray has reflected great credit on himself, his unit and the United States Army.