DEBUSK, RAY B.
Rank / Branch:
LCP E-3, U.S. Marine
FIRST MARINE DIVISIO
Date of Birth:
HOSTILE, SMALL ARMS
Awards & Decorations:
See Alphabetical list
list by County
RAY B. DEBUSK, JR., LANCE CORPORAL, USMC, ODESSA, ECTOR COUNTY, TEXAS
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal
Ray was born in Stockton, California due to his father's service with the Army Air Corp. His mother indicated that he was always upset at her for not letting him be born in Texas. He was very proud to be a Texan. His parents were Major Ray B. Debusk Sr. USAF Retired and Billie Cresswell Debusk both formerly of Odessa. He was the oldest son, having a younger brother Cress who was born in 1950. Ray's father was a career Air Force Pilot and Ray was educated in schools over the U.S. and Europe while his father was on active duty.
In 1962, Major Debusk retired from the Air Force after 20 years and the family moved to Lubbock, Texas where Major Debusk took a job with the Texas Youth Council. Ray completed high school in 1964 at Monterey High School in Lubbock. Major Debusk was promoted to Supervisor in the Odessa District Office and Major Debusk relocated to Odessa and after Ray's graduation, the family joined him.
Ray enrolled at Odessa College in the fall of 1964. He attended one semester and then joined the U.S. Marine Corp. and reported for Recruit Training at San Diego, California and then trained at Camp Pendleton and was stationed at Cherry Point and also at Quantanimo, Cuba.
Ray met his finacee, Barbara Owen, a 1965 graduate of Permian High School and a student at Odessa College when he was home on a leave. They dated when he would be home. Barbara's parents owned an Otto's Ice Cream franchise on West County Road in Odessa near Ray's parents home in 1964-66. When Ray was home on his leave prior to departure for Vietnam, they became engaged.
Ray departed for Vietnam after the Thanksgiving holidays in 1966. He was assigned to D Company, 1st Battalion, First Marine Regiment, First Marine Division and they were operating around DaNang. Three weeks into his tour and in his first series of patrols, Ray was shot to death in an ambush. He was one of three Delta 1/1 marines to die in the skirmish. Sadly it was much in the way that Ray had told his friends that he thought it would happen. There was supposed to have been a X-mas stand down by the V.C. at the time. Ray's death was announced in the Odessa American on a Friday and the following Sunday's paper was to have an announcement concerning his engagement to Barbara.
Ray was buried with full military honors in the family plot in the Englewood Cemetry, in Slaton, Texas.. Slaton was his father's home when he was growing up.
Englewood Cemetery, Slaton, Texas
After Major Debusk retired from the Texas Youth Council, Major and Mrs Debusk moved to Sanderson, Texas, Billie Debusk's girlhood home. Major Debusk passed away February 25, 1987 and is buried next to him. Billie's mother (Ray's grandmother) passed away in late 2003 at the age of 101. Billie married a childhood friend in 1996 and he passed away in March 2004. Billie Cresswell Debusk McSparran passed away Saturday, November 20, 2010 and is buried in Sanderson, Texas near her parents and second husband. Cress, Ray's younger brother, a 1968 graduate of Odessa High School lives in Midland, Texas and is a drilling consultant. Ray's former fiancee, Barbara Owen Stock moved to Columbia, Missouri with her family shortly after Ray's death in 1967. She married and is the mother of two grown daughters. She remained in touch with Ray's mother until her death and continues to stay in touch with her friends in Odessa. .