Ralph O. Bray Jr. - Honored in 2021

  • photo of Ralph O. Bray Jr.Olathe High School Class of 1961

    (June 12, 1942 — July 12, 1969)

    Capt. Ralph O. Bray Jr. gave his life for his country. A year after graduation, Ralph enlisted in the U.S. Army. He excelled as an enlisted man and became part of the Honor Guard in Washington, D.C., which included serving the Kennedy White House. One role was to usher dignitaries at St. Matthew’s Cathedral for President Kennedy’s funeral. In 1964, Ralph received an appointment to Officer Candidate School, followed by airborne school, and leaving for his first tour in Vietnam in 1967. He served as an advisor to the South Vietnamese Army and was in Hue at the Citadel in 1968. He returned stateside for more training, and in 1969 received orders to return for a second tour in Vietnam. Ralph was assigned as the commanding officer for Charlie Company 1/52nd, 198th LIB, Americal Division (23rd Infantry) located at L.Z. Stinson. On July 12, 1969, Charlie Company was setting up a night lager when an unexploded booby trap was set off mortally wounding Ralph and several others. He died on the helicopter heading to the hospital. Those who knew Ralph described him fondly with words like “respected,” “disciplined,” “leader,” and “in charge.”