2nd Platoon, C Company, 4th/47th Battalion, 2nd Brigade
Introduction – Ray Layman, another of those “lucky” guys drafted on May 17, 1966 and becoming part of the 9th Infantry Division when it was reactivated for combat service in Viet Nam. I’ll always remember Ray as one of the most likable soldiers in our 2nd Platoon – I don’t know if June had already whipped him into shape, but Ray was one of those men who carried his load responsibly and could be counted on for any tough job. There we were, on patrol in the nasty Rung Sat Special Zone – it was another three day mission searching for Viet Cong and we had already encountered sniper fire and an absolutely horrible, muddy, swampy jungle terrain, when we settled in for the night next to the river. It was a cold drizzly night, but that didn’t stop the V.C from sneaking up on us and exploding a huge homemade claymore mine. The sound was deafening. Fortunately, we had only one soldier wounded, but unfortunately that one soldier was Ray Layman. However, I guess you would call it the “Million Dollar Wound”, because that Purple Heart resulted in him goin’ home.
After Ray was lifted out of there by a med-evac chopper the next morning, none of us saw him again for another 34 years and that’s when we all got together for a Charlie Company Reunion in 2001 at Las Vegas. That reunion was such a fun time and Ray and June thoroughly enjoyed themselves as we all did. All of Ray’s buddies kept jiving him by calling him “Ole Lead Ass”. Ray liked that – he had saved that chunk of metal all those years. I remember Ray mentioning that he had been fighting cancer the last several years, but you would never know it – he was so happy and full of life. Well heck, one look at the photos below and you can see why he would be so happy – a beautiful wife, a great family and grandchildren. Plus, the cancer was in remission. However, just a few short months later, that cancer returned with a vengeance and suddenly Ray was gone. As a fitting tribute to Ray’s service to his country, June and the boys had Ray buried wearing his ole Army uniform. Ray, from all of your “Brothers In Arms”, may God Bless you and may you Rest in Peace. Bill Reynolds – September 21, 2003