RAY, JAMES EDWIN
Name: 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
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.
REMARKS: 021273 RELEASED BY DRV
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
UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO
JAMES E. RAY
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
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 home town, 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
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.