Right after his training, he was deployed to England to assist the Allies, starting as a tail gunner on B-17 bombers. As teenagers do, he grew in height significantly during his tour, outgrowing his position in the cramped quarters of the tail of the aircraft and became a side gunner. He also flew missions aboard America's B-24 bomber.
"Ray participated in many pivotal attacks against Nazi forces, including the Invasion of Normandy. The average life expectancy of a B-17 bomber crew member was 12-14 missions. Tens of thousands of American airmen died fighting in the skies over Europe, but Ray defied odds and completed 26 missions before returning home to his family," his granddaughter Natalie Ehret wrote to Fox 9.
His 90th birthday is on May 18, and with so few WWII veterans left to thank, Natalie wanted to make sure her grandfather, and his fellow veterans, knew how much they're still appreciated.
Send a birthday card
"Please consider taking a moment to thank him for his heroic service by sending my grandfather a letter or postcard to the address below. This simple act of gratitude is a wonderful way to show appreciation for our veterans. To those that are teachers and parents, please feel free to share Raymond's story with your children and invite them to make a card or picture. Thank you all in advance."
14050 Pilot Knob Rd. Suite 140-157
Apple Valley, MN. 55124