Ray Amelio | Navy
Ray’s unintended exit from college led him to the navy in 1966—at the invitation of the draft board, of course. After basic training, Ray became a hospital corpsman and served aboard the USS Wasp (CV-18) for a while until the Marine Corps needed him in Vietnam.
As a combat medic in country with the 3rd Marine Division, Ray served in the thick of it. Bombardments, mortars, fire fights, fallen bodies. He was wounded twice. “I’ll never forget the sights, sounds, and smells,” he says. “Blood has a certain smell.” After all these years, the smell of death in the fields and villages stays with him.
Serving in Vietnam was an object-lesson in adaptation, perseverence, and survival. When life get tough, Ray says, he reminds himself that nothing can be worse than being in Vietnam.
The Social Voice Project is dedicated to understanding the voices and stories of our lives–those first-hand, authentic accounts of lived experiences we call oral histories. Sharing these experiences reveals our social, economic, and political lives, and they help forge important understandings of public histories.
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