April 23, 2024

Profiles of Valor: HM2 David Robert Ray (USN)

“HC2c. Ray served to inspire the men of Battery D to heroic efforts in defeating the enemy.”

David Robert “Bobby” Ray was born in McMinnville, Tennessee, in February 1945, the year the Axis Powers of Germany, Italy, and Japan were approaching the end of their World War II reigns of terror.

He graduated from McMinnville City High School in 1963 and was awarded a University of Tennessee Alumni Scholarship, attending UT until 1966. He also completed an associate of arts degree from Cumberland University.

Ray, 21, enlisted in the U.S. Navy in March 1966, four months after the first major combat engagement between the U.S. and the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) at la Drang. He reported to the Naval Training Center, San Diego, California, and was certified through the Naval Hospital Corps School as a hospital corpsman. He served on the hospital ship USS Haven.

In May 1968, as the NVA launched phase two of its Tet Offensive, Ray requested a tour of duty with the Fleet Marine Force and became a FMF corpsman before being sent to Vietnam in July. He was assigned to Battery D, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division (Reinforced), located at An Hoa, South Vietnam.

Early in the morning of March 19, 1969, Fire Support Base Phu Loc 6, adjacent to the command post of the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, was attacked by what was estimated to be a battalion-strength NVA force. Under heavy fire, Ray, who was the senior corpsman for Battery D, moved fearlessly from parapet to parapet in order to render medical aid to wounded Marines.

After being seriously wounded, he refused medical assistance from the other Battery D corpsman so he could continue rendering aid to our Marines under fire. After killing one NVA soldier and wounding another, Ray was out of ammunition. His final heroic action was covering a wounded Marine with his own body in order to protect him from an NVA grenade that landed near them. The grenade blast killed Bobby Ray, but the Marine lived.

Ray and eleven Battery D Marines, in addition to another Navy corpsman and two Marines from the 1st Battalion, 5th Marines command post, were killed that day.

For his valorous actions, Hospital Corpsman Second Class Bobby Ray was awarded the Medal of Honor.

His citation notes in part: “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty… Although seriously wounded himself … while he was bandaging and attempting to comfort another wounded marine, HC2c. 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. HC2c. Ray’s final act of heroism was [throwing] himself upon a 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.”

He is memorialized by the ship, USS David R. Ray, part of the reserve fleet in the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. He is permanently recognized among other Medal of Honor recipients on the Tennessee Wall of Valor at the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center.

HM2 David Robert Ray: Your example of valor — a humble American Patriot defending Liberty for all above and beyond the call of duty, and in disregard for the peril to your own life — is eternal. “Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Pro Deo et Libertate — 1776

Follow Mark Alexander on X/Twitter.

Join us in daily prayer for our Patriots in uniform — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way in defense of American Liberty, honoring their oath “to support and defend” our Constitution. Pray for our Veterans, First Responders, and their families. Please consider a designated gift to support the National Medal of Honor Sustaining Fund through Patriot Foundation Trust, or make a check payable to “NMoH Sustaining Fund” and mail it to:

Patriot Foundation Trust
PO Box 407
Chattanooga, TN 37401-0407

Thank you for supporting our nation’s premier online journal of Liberty.

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

The Patriot Post and Patriot Foundation Trust, in keeping with our Military Mission of Service to our uniformed service members and veterans, are proud to support and promote the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, both the Honoring the Sacrifice and Warrior Freedom Service Dogs aiding wounded veterans, the National Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, the Folds of Honor outreach, and Officer Christian Fellowship, the Air University Foundation, and Naval War College Foundation, and the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. "Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13)


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

Please join us in prayer for our nation — that righteous leaders would rise and prevail and we would be united as Americans. Pray also for the protection of our Military Patriots, Veterans, First Responders, and their families. Please lift up your Patriot team and our mission to support and defend our Republic's Founding Principle of Liberty, that the fires of freedom would be ignited in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2024 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.