Taken by Monica Baan August 3, 2016
Taken by Marty Morgan August 4, 2016
Taken by Sean Claxton August 9, 2016
Update 2: The ABMC has
dishonored a WWII Soldier buried in the Normandy
American Cemetery. 6 days after Sgt Rayís new
headstone with the correct date of death (13 June
1944) someone at the ABMC in the Virginia
headquarters ordered Sgt Rayís headstone torn down
and replaced it with the incorrect date of 7 June
The workers at the Normandy
American Cemetery stated this was done at the behest
of Mr. Nosal. Mr. Nosal is the one who signed off
on the correct headstone date back in November last
year 2015. I find it hard to believe that the Chief
External Affairs had the power to do this. It took
9 months to have the new headstone installed but yet
only 6 days to tear it down. Nothing works that
fast in the federal government, nothing.
An email was sent to the
Secretary of the ABMC Mr. Max Cleland two days ago
August 15, 2016, about this insult to a WWII Soldier
who is buried at the Normandy American Cemetery.
There is no response from Mr. Cleland yet.
Here is a link to the email that was sent 2 days ago.
An email from Mr. Nosal came
yesterday from a request I had made last Wednesday,
August 10, 2016. In the email, he stated that
Sgt Ray's headstone was torn down at the request of
Sgt Ray's widow. I find that hard to believe
as I had spoken with Mrs. Guidry's daughter to let
her know that the headstone was being updated to the
correct date. Mrs. Guidry herself has stated
she knew of the change months ago.
Yet the ABMC just days after
the new headstone was put into place that she now
felt differently? Even if that was true it wouldn't
have allowed the old headstone to be put back up.
Once a widow or widower remarries they no longer
have a legal standing in an issue like this.
Yesterday (August 16, 2016) Sgt
Ray's sister was told that her brother's new
headstone had been torn down by the ABMC and the old
headstone had gone back up. Mrs. Carlsen was very
surprised that this had occurred. Mrs. Carlsen said
she always believed he didn't die right away in
Normandy. Her father John Ray Sr. received letters
from Pfc Steele who saw Sgt Ray at the Field
Hospital on Utah Beach it seems. Steele always
assumed that Sgt Ray went back to England like
Steele had done on 10 June 1944.
The ABMC did not follow their
own protocol in removing this headstone. The real
question is who ordered the removal of the correct
headstone less that a week later? Who has that kind
August 17, 2016
Update 1: The ABMC
has agreed to change the date of death for Sgt Ray
from June 7, 1944 to his correct date of death June
13, 1944. Dealing with the ABMC is like
pulling teeth. It is sad that this
organization throws up roadblocks at every turn.
Sgt John P. Ray of Co F of the
505th Prcht Inf was wounded in
the hip and buttock
June 6, 1944 and died at 10:00 am June 13, 1944.
He was buried at the 607 Macon Cemetery.
Graves Form #1 had all of the correct information
about his death including Time and reason for
death which was Gangrene.
The 607th Graves Registration Company who
buried Sgt Ray also had the correct date June 13,
The EMT (Emergency Medical Tag) was transcribed in
1970 to the SGO (Office of the Surgeon) Report.
It also had Sgt Ray as dying after 8 days which was
June 13, 1944.
The 607 Macon Cemetery was just
off of Utah Beach. The Cemetery was closed on June
18, 1944. The bodies were moved from there to Ste.
MŤre-Eglise No. 2 on June 27, 1944. The time of
date had been changed to June 6, 1944 which was
wrong. They also had him as Killed in Action which
was wrong as well.
The MR (Morning Reports)
for Co F of the 505th Prcht Inf of August
29, 1944 had the correct date as well for the death
of Sgt Ray, June 13, 1944. Written on the MR for
that day it showed his date of wounds as being June
7, 1944 and his date of death as Jun 13, 1944. The
date of his would seem to be incorrect as EMT stated
he was at the Field Hospital for 8 days which would
match up with June 6, 1944.
The next mistake was done in
Washington, D. C. when filling out the paperwork on September 8,
When reading the Morning Report while filling out
this form they read that he was wounded on that day
(June 7, 1944) but didnít read the next 2 lines
which showed his death as June 13, 1944.
Sgt Rayís body was moved to the
Normandy American Cemetery on December 15, 1944.
The Disinterment Directive left the date of death
At some point the ABMC (American Battle Monuments
Commission) looked at the Report of Death Form and
had the Headstone Date of Death as June 7, 1944. If
you look at the ABMC Website they still have him
listed as June 7, 1944.
Sgt Rayís date of death was
June 13, 1944 but because of a paperwork error on
one form (the Report of Death Form) it is listed
I have contacted both R. Scott
Moore, PhD, Director, Field Programs at the US Army
Center of Military History and Robert J.
Dalessandro, Deputy Secretary, Headquarters
Operations at the ABMC about this issue.
The US Army Center of Military
History is loath to have a Headstone changed. The
ABMC the same and they look to the US Army Center of
Military History. I think I have found the
main reason the ABMC won't change the Headstones,
MONEY. It would talk about $150,000 to put up
new headstones through Europe for the 92 401st Gli
The reason Iíve updated Sgt
Rayís death is because of a Post last night on Facebook. Someone spoke of a book that was written
by his wife Paula F. Guidry titled Treasures In My
Heart. A had never heard of the book before last
night. In one of the articles about the book Mrs.
Guidry said that she didnít know about what had
happened to her husband Sgt Ray until she read the
book D-Day: June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of
World War II by Stephen E. Ambrose.
I went and pulled down the book
and went to page 211 where Ken Russell a Co F man spoke of Sgt Ray. In the book Russell stated
that he saw Sgt Ray get shot in the gut and while
dying shot the German who had shot him in the gut.
The only problem with that is that Sgt Ray didnít
die until June 13, 1944, not June 6, 1944. I then
went to the Endnotes of the book and it stated that
this information came from a Ron Drez interview with
This is the problem with just
taking the word of someone without doing fact
checking. Ambrose shouldnít have put that into
the book. If you canít prove your work it
shouldnít be in a non-fiction book. Russell
was only in that area for a matter of seconds.
He assumed that Sgt Ray was dead when in fact he was
still very much alive at that point.
Ken Russell was part right
about what happened to Sgt Ray. He was shot
and in agony but it took 8 days to die not right
away. Sgt Rayís wife Paula F. Guidry is under
the impression that her Husband died at Ste.
MŤre-Eglise right after being shot. Since her
book is based on the 100ís of letters they wrote to
each other did he write to her from the Field Hospital? If not he
must have been in unimaginable pain not to
written a goodbye letter. Dying of Gangrene is a
horrible way to go, no matter what the original
History can be corrected but it
is very time consuming work and even then some
people will look at all of the documentation and say
that canít be true because I read something
different in a book. Just because Ambrose had it in
a book doesnít mean itís true. The source in this
case about Ray dying just after being shot is only
on the word of a fellow soldier, not the actual
documentation. Sgt Rayís death was much worse than the
Brian N. Siddall
October 14, 2015