WILSON, RAY GENE
Rank / Branch:
PFC E-3 U.S. ARMY
Date of Birth:
HOSTILE, SMALL ARMS
Awards & Decorations:
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RAY GENE WILSON, PRIVATE FIRST CLASS, U.S. ARMY, ODESSA, ECTOR COUNTY, TEXAS
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS:
Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Silver Star, Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Vietnam Military Merit Medal..
Ray Gene Wilson was born in Hugo, Oklahoma. He was the second of two children born to Lucille and Lee Wilson. Ray's older sister, Carol was three years older. His family moved to Odessa in 1954 along with several other extended family. His fathaer was a lineman with Dixie Electric. He attended schools in Odessa and in Hugo. While in Odessa, he attended Zavala and Rusk Elementary Schools, Ector Junior and Senior High School. The family moved back to Hugo when Ray Gene was entering his junior year as his sister Carol had graduated from Ector High School in 1962 and while there, she was a cheerleader.
His family indicated he was an all around good guy, he liked to rodeo, namely riding horses and bulls. He was a cowboy through and through. He was a pitcher on the baseball team and he liked to race his truck. He was always tearing the clutch out of his pick-up according to his sister. He had a smile that would light up the room and everyone who knew him liked him. He dropped out of school before his senior year and went to work as an electrician helper and pole climber with his father.
He was drafted into the Army from Hugo, Oklahoma and entered the military service at the Oklahoma City AFEES station. He completed basic and AIT training at Fort Polk, Louisiana in infantry.
He began his tour in Vietnam on December 14, 1968. He was assigned as an infantryman with Company D, 2 Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division. He was killed by small arms fire in hostile action on February 23, 1969 and earned the Purple Heart and Silver Star posthumously for his actions that day.
He was buried with full military honors at the Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Hugo, Oklahoma. His parents and sister survived him. He was also survived by his aunt and uncle, Al and Dorothy (Dot) Williams of Odessa. His father, Lee is now deceased and is buried next to him at Mount Olivet. His mother continues to live in Hugo, Oklahoma. His sister Carol Hughes also lives in Hugo. He has a nephew Guy Hooper and two nieces, Teri Lane and Leah Pitts.
Mount Olivet Cemetery, Hugo, Oklahoma
AWARD OF THE SILVER STAR
1. TC 320. The following AWARD is announced posthumously.
WILSON, RAY G US54669934 (456-78-4001) PRIVATE FIRST CLASS United States Army Company D 2d Battalion 18th Infantry
Awarded: Silver Star
Date of action: 23 February 1969
Theater: Republic of Vietnam
Reason: For gallantry in action while engaged in military operations involving an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam: On this date, Private First Class Wilson was serving as a radio-telephone operator with his platoon on a night ambush near the village of Phouc Bien II. At approximately 0300 hours, he detected seven Viet Cong within 50 meters of his ambush site. During the ensuing firefight, Private First Class Wilson maneuvered through a hail of hostile rounds with his platoon leader and maintained constant communications with the friendly elements. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Private First Class Wilson proceeded to a forward position and put forth devastating fire with his automatic rifle which killed one insurgent. Realizing that illumination was imperative to expose the enemy locations, he braved the aggressor barrage and fired hand flares until he was mortally wounded. His selfish courage, professionalism, and perseverance significantly contributed to the success of the engagement. Private First Class Wilson’s unquestionable valor in close combat against numerically superior hostile forces is in keeping with finest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, the 1st Infantry Division, and the United States Army.
Authority: By direction of the President, as established by the Act of Congress, 9 July1918, and USARV Message 16695, dated 1 July 1966.
Transcribed from a Copy of the Citation from Military Records, provided under FOIA request December 2006 by Billy M. Brown for Virtual Wall and For Memorial Tribute.