RAYMOND M. DIAZ
Patriot, Chapter 1919
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.
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.
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
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,
Mary Trevino were married.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.