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1LT Bernard James Ray
Birth: Jun. 9, 1921
Kings County (Brooklyn)
New York, USA
Death: Nov. 17, 1944, Germany

World War II Medal of Honor Recipient. He received the award posthumously on December 8, 1945 for his actions as a 1st lieutenant and platoon leader in Company F, 8th Infantry Regiment (the "Fighting Eagles"), 4th Infantry Division, US Army on November 17, 1944 during the Battle of Hurtgen Forest near Schevenhutte, Germany, during World War II. He joined the US Army from Baldwin, New York in 1943 during World War II and was sent to Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Georgia. Following his graduation as a 2nd lieutenant, he was sent to the England in preparation for the Normandy, France invasion. After D-Day on June 6, 1944, his unit pushed through France and into Germany where, on November 17, 1944, he exposed himself to enemy fire when he attempted to blow a wire obstacle that was blocking his unit's path. Wounded during the attempt, he went ahead and detonated the charge which resulted in his death at the age of 23. Originally interred near where he died, his remains were moved to a cemetery in Germany and later repatriated to Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale, New York. In addition to the Medal of Honor, he received the Purple Heart, the American Campaign Medal, the European-African-Middle eastern Campaign Medal (with arrowhead device and two campaign stars), and the World War II Victory Medal. His Medal of Honor citation reads: "He was platoon leader with Company F, 8th Infantry, on November 17, 1944, during the drive through the Hurtgen Forest near Schevenhutte, Germany. The American forces attacked in wet, bitterly cold weather over rough, wooded terrain, meeting brutal resistance from positions spaced throughout the forest behind minefields and wire obstacles. Small arms, machinegun, mortar, and artillery fire caused heavy casualties in the ranks when Company F was halted by a concertina-type wire barrier. Under heavy fire, 1st Lt. Ray reorganized his men and prepared to blow a path through the entanglement, a task which appeared impossible of accomplishment 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 charge 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 pocket, 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, 1st Lt. Ray enabled his company to continue its attack, resumption of which was of positive significance in gaining the approaches to the Cologne Plain." (bio by: William Bjornstad) 
Long Island National Cemetery
East Farmingdale
Suffolk County
New York, USA
Plot: DSS; Grave 6
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: May 04, 2000
Find A Grave Memorial# 9212
1LT Bernard James Ray
Added by: John "J-Cat" Griffith
1LT Bernard James Ray
Added by: Don Morfe
1LT Bernard James Ray
Added by: John T. Chiarella
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