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Capt. James E. Ray - La Porte, TX
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member jhuoni
N 29° 45.192 W 095° 05.335
15R E 298008 N 3293266
Quick Description: As you enter the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, a flagpole is on the right. Around this pole is a circle of Freedom Trees honoring those who never returned home from Vietnam.
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 8/13/2019 9:19:43 AM
Waymark Code: WM11452
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member TitusLlewelyn
Views: 1

Long Description:

The Freedom Tree
With The Vision of Universal Freedom
For All Mankind
This Tree Is Dedicated To


And All Prisoners of War
Missing in Action

From the POW

James Edwin Ray
Rank/Branch: O2/United States Air Force, pilot
Unit: 469th TFS
Date of Birth:
Home City of Record: Longview TX
Date of Loss: 08 May 1966
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 213200N 1063400E
Status (in 1973): Returnee
Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F105
Missions: 13
Other Personnel in Incident: none

Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK 06 September 1996 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.


SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977
Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602 Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and spelling errors).

UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO

Captain - United States Air Force
Shot Down: May 8, 1966
Released: February 12, 1973

"I am not bitter toward the people who wanted peace at any cost as long as they were sincere in their beliefs and that they thought it was for the best interest of our country. On the other hand, there was a silent majority supporting our electoral process which was able to sustain the wise leadership and courage which led to the ultimate fulfilment of our commitment with honor in Viet Nam."

These remarks are representative of the attitude of Captain Ray, a lifelong Texan. Born in Longview, Texas, in 1941, he was graduated with honors from Conroe High School. He graduated from Texas A and M in 1964 with a degree in English and the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Corps of Cadets.

After two years of flying F-105 fighter bombers, Captain Ray was shot down in May 1966. He suffered six years of internment in prison camps. When he returned home, he described how he had not only survived this confinement but maintained his present attitude toward people.

"Bible verses, whispered back and forth by the American prisoners, were vital to our daily existence. Those Bible verses became rays of light, constant assurances of His love and care.

"For five weeks out of the six years one prisoner was allowed to see a Bible one hour per week for copying. When we would start to copy, the interrogator would plant his elbow on the Bible for the first fifteen minutes. After he'd let us start, he would ask mundane questions to distract us. I would ignore him and write as fast as I could. The next week we would have to return the previous week's copy work. They seemed to be afraid to have us keep the scriptures, as if they sensed that the spiritual help kept us from breaking."

The guards failed in their efforts. During each week the men memorized the Bible verses and recited them from memory to each other.

When he returned and spoke at a program honoring him in his hometown, he felt a positive attitude toward the occasion. "I think this gathering symbolizes the desire of the people to reunite in a common goal for America."

His personal goals are to continue a flying career as a regular officer, and to pursue his hobbies of fishing, hunting, and sports.

He sends this message to the American people: "Let's put the enthusiasm of the occasion into dedicated efforts to unite our nation. Support the 'law and justice' mood of the American people. Champion our worthy traditions of personal integrity and discipline, social responsibility, and respect for the great institutions of America. Actively oppose those, who, in the name of Freedom, have sown anarchy and distrust and division among us. Study and reflect upon the gospel of Christ. For these values were the inspiration of our survival as POW's; faith in these values and action to achieve them will restore in America a new unity, not only insuring her survival but restoring her greatness and leadership."


James Ray retired from the United States Air Force as a Colonel. He and his wife Becky reside in Texas.


More information can be found at Veteran Tributes

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