David Robert (Bobby) Ray, 24, Navy corpsman second class, has become Warren county's sixth victim of the Vietnam campaign.
Mr. and Mrs. David Ray, 204 Ridgecrest Drive, McMinnville were notified late Sunday of their son's death. HM2 Ray was reportedly killed when the Marine unit to which he was attached was over run on March 18. The body is to be returned to High's Inc., here, and is expected to arrive by this weekend. Arrangements will be announced by the funeral home.
Young Ray was serving at An Hoa, Vietnam, as a medic. While the information given the family was limited, a letter written by Tommy Vickers, a close friend of Ray's now serving as an operating room technician at Da Nang, states that Ray was killed while treating the wounded, but had continued to treat the more seriously injured until he was hit the second time. The second wound took his life. The letter was received by Mr. and Mrs. Tom Vickers, Corpsman Vickers' parents, the day before the Rays were notified of their son's death by armed forces officials. It read, in part, as follows:
"I guess you know by now, Bob Ray got killed last night. They ran over An Hoa. This is the story I got from a Marine he patched up.
"'They started when one got through the wire and pulled a satchel charge under a hutch. When it went off everyone ran outside. They started mowing them down as they ran out.'
"Bob got hit, but was still treating wounded when he was hit the second time. I hope this isn't true, but this Marine said he and Bob were real close. We worked until 2:30 this morning, and then I got off. I was on second call. At 6:30 this morning six choppers came in from An Hoa, and I got called back. The first thing I did was go to triage and look for Bob. When I didn't see him, I started asking because most of them were from 15, Bob's outfit. Everyone said he had been hit, but no one knew how bad. Then this one kid told me what happened. I couldn't work. All I could do was sit and stare. He didn't come here that I can find out.
"After his mother has calmed down, tell her this little Marine said Bob knew his job and he was doing it. He fixed my arm. Then he started to cry. He said, 'Gooks were all over them, plus rockets and mortars as thick as flies.' We had mass casualties last night. We caught a few rounds about 4:30. I don't think anyone got hurt. The choppers are coming in. Thank God, I'm off."
A graduate of McMinnville high school, young Ray attended the University of Tennessee before volunteering for service in March of 1966. He was scheduled to come home in July on leave, but had already volunteered for six months additional duty in Vietnam. He planned to return to the battle zone immediately following his leave and a visit with his parents, friends and relatives here. Vickers arrived in Vietnam about a month ago, and he and Ray had planned to have a reunion in Vietnam as soon as their respective duties would permit. Vickers, like Ray, volunteered for service. Ray received his hospital training in San Diego and underwent field training at Camp Pendleton, Calif. In addition to his parents, Ray is survived by a sister, Mrs. Barry Lentz of Orlando, Fla.
Southern Standard, McMinnville, TN
25 Mar 1969, page 1