David Robert Ray

Ray was born February 14, 1945, in McMinnville, TN, and  graduated from City High School in McMinnville in 1963. He won a University of Tennessee Alumni Scholarship and attended classes at the Knoxville campus from 1963-1966.

Ray enlisted in the U.S. Navy in Nashville, on March 28, 1966, and trained at the Naval Training Center, San Diego, CA. He attended the former Naval Hospital Corps School in San Diego, became a hospital corpsman and was assigned as a corpsman was aboard the USS Haven (AH-12). Afterward, he served at the former U.S. Naval Hospital in Long Beach, CA.

Ray requested a tour with the Fleet Marine Force and went to Camp Pendleton for battlefield training as a corpsman. On July 12, 1968, he was sent to Vietnam and assigned to Battery D, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division (Reinforced), located at An Hoa, South Vietnam.

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a HC2c. 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, HC2c. 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, HC2c. Ray was forced to battle 2 enemy soldiers who attacked his position, personally killing 1 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. HC2c. 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, HC2c. 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.

In his hometown o fMcMinnville, Bobby Ray Memorial Elementary School and a highway in Warren County are named in his honor. The USS David R. Ray, commissioned in 1977, is now in the mothball fleet in the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. Other honors include Naval and Marine medical and housing facilities in Everett, Washington, Camp Pendleton, CA, Quantico, VA, and Ft. Huachuca, AZ.