Preserving The Oral HistorIES of Combat Veterans

COMBAT STORIES FROM Vietnam

Bill Ray | Headquarters Company, 35th Combat Engineer Battalion - Army

7:20   |   On his second Vietnam tour, Bill Ray commanded a combat engineer battalion. The large unit was still housed in tents, which raised some eyebrows, and was tasked with building a national road including many bridges. They also built some airstrips way down in the delta where he encountered entertainer Martha Ray, to his great surprise.

More From Bill Ray

Videos ( 4 )
Vietnam
  • Bill Ray  |  Vietnam  |  ARVN Advisor, Topographic Company  |  7:06

    During the early days of the Vietnam War, West Pointer Bill Ray expected to be advisor to an ARVN engineer company, but he wound up advising the topographic company instead. He was comfortably housed at the Five Oceans hotel in Saigon and he remembers the great day when the huge mapmaking camera arrived.

  • Bill Ray  |  Vietnam  |  ARVN Advisor, Topographic Company  |  5:11

    He wasn't involved in combat, but ARVN advisor Bill Ray saw many casualties evacuated by helicopter to the field next to his hotel in Saigon. He needed the perspective because he was on one of the best tours ever in a war zone, with handball at the air base, tennis at the club and even water skiing. He praise the Vietnamese professionals he worked with but was puzzled by the wide gap between the elite and the general population.

  • Bill Ray  |  Vietnam  |  Headquarters Company, 35th Combat Engineer Battalion  |  4:20

    The worst day in Vietnam for Bill Ray, who was with an engineer unit building roads, was the day three civilians were accidently killed in separate incidents. Other problems during that tour included potheads and a reluctant Sergeant Major. At least the VC left him alone.

Cold War
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