Presentation Date: July 27, 2017
First Lieutenant Raymond L. Horton, United States Army
Ray was born in Oakland in 1928. His father was a deputy constable who died when Ray was two; his mother was a housewife. He had one older brother who served in World War 2. Ray attended Oakland’s Castlemont High School and graduated in January 1946.
He entered UC Berkeley in 1946, majoring in General Curriculum. While there, he met his future wife, Helen Marie Fink. Upon graduation in 1951, Ray hired on with Pacific Bell Telephone. The Korean conflict was in progress and draft calls were high. An Army officer family friend helped Ray join the Army Reserve so he could participate while keeping his civilian job.
Ray was soon called to active duty, commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Medical Service Corps, and ordered to report to Fort Sam Houston, Texas where he was trained as an ambulance team member. While there, he married Helen in a military wedding in March 1952.
In September 1952, he traveled to Korea via troop ship. On arrival, he was assigned to the 7th Infantry Division as an Ambulance Platoon leader attached to a MASH unit and quickly was driven by Jeep to meet his corpsmen at the front. After participation in various battles, he was assigned to the 1st Marine Division for six months.
Later, Ray participated in the preparations for the truce talks held at Panmunjom and was involved in Operation Little Switch, the exchange of sick and wounded prisoners after cessation of hostilities.
Helen met Ray on Okinawa in April 1953; they returned to Fort Ord, California in 1955 and he resumed his employment with Pacific Bell. At completion of his eight-year Reserve obligation, he was discharged in1960 in San Lorenzo.
Ray’s military awards and decorations include:
-- The Korean Service Medal with three Battle Stars
-- Two Meritorious Unit Citations
-- The Commendation Medal with Metal Pendant
-- The Combat Bayonet Badge (awarded by the US Army 7th Division)
After 32 years with Pacific Bell, Ray retired in 1983. Later, he worked for five years as Regional Marketing Director for Girard-Hopkins, a distributor of commercial washers and dryers in Northern California.
During Helen’s career as a schoolteacher, they had three children. She died on 2 February 2017; Ray resides in Walnut Creek.