Military Order of the Purple Heart

Texas Capital Chapter 1919 Austin, Texas

 

RAY DIAZ

101st AIRBORNE DIVISION SHOULDER PATCH

187th AIRBORNE INFANTRY REGIMENTAL CREST

Combat Medical Badge

Parachutists Badge

 


RAYMOND M. DIAZ

Patriot, Chapter 1919

 (ARMY, Vietnam) Article March 2004

Raymond Diaz was born in Austin, Texas in 1946. He grew up in a Spanish language home in South Austin and that made life difficult for him in his early years in English-only elementary school. He graduated from Travis High School in the spring of 1966 and soon received his draft notice. About this time, he was dating a girl from Salado, a Miss Mary Trevino. Raymond was inducted into the Army on October 13, 1966.

Ray went through Basic Training in Fort Polk, Louisiana and then was sent through Advanced Individual Training as a Medical Corpsman at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. From there, he went through Airborne training and received his “jump wings” at Fort Benning, Georgia. Raymond was then sent to Fort Campbell, Kentucky and assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry (Airborne), and attached to Company D as a Medical Aidman. The 187th, known as the “Rakkasans,” were a part of the 3rd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division. 

In December 1967, Ray’s battalion deployed to Bien Hoa Air Base in Vietnam, moved up to their new home in Phuoc Vinh and began conducting combat operations to the south in War Zone D. They were there just in time to go through TET-68. By this time, Raymond had been promoted to Specialist 4th Class. Company aidmen carried a large pack with a lot of life-saving equipment, but were also, like other soldiers, armed with an M-16 rifle. When trying to treat multiple casualties under fire in the heat of battle, a medic tends to concentrate on saving lives and forgets about the rifle. Raymond Diaz did that several times, coming out of the battle area without his M-16. He got one written off as a battle loss, but they threatened to make him buy the next one out of his SP4’s pay.  After that, he started going into action carrying a D-handled shovel. That would be a lot cheaper if he lost it, and besides a shovel is always handy in the field.  Anyway, nobody seemed to object. Meanwhile, Raymond and Mary were   exchanging letters during his time in Vietnam. 

Company D was involved in numerous engagements and Ray was wounded during an intense firefight that developed with a large North Vietnamese Army force on March 18, 1968. As a result of his actions that day, in addition to the Purple Heart, he was also decorated for valor. 

At the end of his enlistment, he was discharged from the Army in October 1968, returned home to Austin and entered service in the Army Reserve. In 1971, Raymond Diaz and Mary Trevino were married. 

Raymond served in various Guard and Reserve positions until 1999 when he retired as a Major in the Army Reserve. Some of his milestones along the way included the following. He was serving in the 71st Airborne Brigade as acting First Sergeant of the Ranger/Pathfinder Detachment 1 at the time he received his commission as Second Lieutenant, Infantry, in 1975. In 1976 he graduated from the Medical Service Officer’s Basic Course at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio.  He then served assignments in the 117th Combat Support Hospital in San Antonio and in the Medical Battalion Headquarters of the 49th Armored Division in Austin, and was promoted to Captain.  He later completed the Artillery Officer’s Advanced Course and served multiple assignments in Artillery units. In 1991 he was activated for 6-month’s active duty during Desert Storm as an Artillery Major.  For the next eight years before retirement in 1999, he was an Individual Mobilization Augmentee for Southern Command where he would spend 22 day assignments each year in Panama. 

Raymond has been a serious competitor in both rifle and pistol marksmanship throughout his military service and continuing as a civilian. He has fired in matches in the Active Army, the National Guard (Guard Championship-Pistol, 1976), and the Army Reserve (Camp Perry, Ohio 1988). In 1999 at Camp Perry, he became only the 1,198th person awarded the civilian “Distinguished Pistol Shot Badge” since that award was originated in 1891. 

Meanwhile, Raymond also pursued a civilian career as a Texas State Employee.  After serving in seven Texas state agencies, he retired in 2001 with more than 25 years service. Raymond and Mary Diaz have two sons and a daughter, all three are adults, all also living in Austin. Gabrielle, their only  grandchild, receives a great deal of their attention.

 

CITATION

(excerpt)

BRONZE STAR with “V” Device

Date of action: 18 March 1968

 

 

Raymond M. Diaz, for heroism in ground combat against a hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam on 18 March 1968. Specialist Diaz distinguished himself while serving as a medical aidman during a combat operation in the vicinity of Phuoc Vinh...when advancing with his company, they made heavy contact with a large North Vietnamese Army force.  Seeing several wounded men, Specialist Diaz, with complete disregard for his own personal safety, raced out over the bullet swept area and treated the wounded men, completely exposing himself to the full fury of the enemy  fusillade.  While in this exposed state, he was wounded by shrapnel, but continued to work on, refusing medical aid. Then, even though he was bleeding profusely, he carried one of the more seriously wounded men back to the safety of the company perimeter. Throughout the long night, he remained exposed to the deadly enemy fire as he went about his duty. It was solely due to his undying loyalty, and unbending courage that many brave men, seriously wounded, lived and his extraordinary heroism was an inspiration which everyone recognized. Specialist Diaz’s personal bravery and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and  reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

 

 

SNAPSHOT OF RAYMOND DIAZ WITH HIS  D-HANDLED SHOVEL “BASIC WEAPON”.  PHOTO WAS IN OCT 1968

  DURING A PATROL OUT OF  FIREBASE “PATTON” AT CU CHI.

THIS WAS HIS LAST OPERATION BEFORE THE END OF HIS TOUR IN  VIETNAM.

Jump School

 

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