Ray Daniel Pendergraft

VMFA-542, MAG-13, 1ST MAW
United States Marine Corps
11 March 1930 - 02 July 1967
Atchison, Kansas
Panel 22E Line 112


Naval Aviator

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign
Ray D Pendergraft

The database page for Ray Daniel Pendergraft

28 Sep 2001


A memorial initiated by his wife,
Sue Pendergraft
E-mail address is not available.

Ray Pendergraft, back row on right.
Courtesy of Al Caluza

04 Aug 2002

I was stationed with Major Pendergraft at MCAS Chu Lai. As an enlisted man I did not interact with him on a social level. However, I have a great deal of respect for him as he was a fine Marine and officer. Major Pendergraft always treated us as brother Marines and there was mutual respect in every interaction. In my opinion, Major Pendergraft was one of the top officers I encountered in my time as a Marine. His death was a great loss to the Marines and to the United States of America. I will respect him always.

Semper Fi, Major

From a squadronmate,
Dan Hogan

22 Aug 2002

Major Pendergraft,

I came across this remembrance and thought of you. You were my XO and I was your plane captain. We interacted professionally, but I remember you. I remember that fateful day you did not return from your sortie. I remember saluting you as you left.

I wanted to say THANK YOU for your sacrifice to your God, to your Country, to your Corps. I will never forget you.

(Salute) Semper Fi, Major.

Cpl. "Tiny"
E-mail address is not available.

24 May 2005

He did not know you.
You did not know him.
He was below being pummelled by North Vietnamese artillery.
He is my brother.
Thank you.

From the brother of a Marine in 1/9.

Notes from The Virtual Wall

At 10 AM on 2 July 1967, Bravo Company 1/9 Marines were on patrol about 1-1/2 miles northeast of Con Thien when they made contact with what they thought was a small, well-entrenched enemy unit. Alpha 1/9, also on patrol nearby, came to help, and the two understrength companies found themselves in a meat grinder - the small enemy force turned out to be 5 NVA battalions that had crossed the DMZ. Even worse, the NVA troops were supported by artillery firing from within and north of the DMZ. Two Battalion Landing Teams, one each from USS TRIPOLI and USS OKINAWA, were committed in support of what became a week-long pitched battle. Fixed wing air support also was called in to support the Marine infantrymen.

Major Ray D. Pendergraft, pilot, and Captain David G. Spearman, Radar Intercept Officer, in F-4B BuNo 151421 were part of the response. While attacking NVA forces near Kinh Mon, actually within the DMZ proper, their aircraft was hit by ground fire. His wingman followed Pendergraft out to sea and watched helplessly as the F-4B crashed at sea. Both crewmen died in the crash.

Major Bruce A. Martin, flying an F-8E (BuNo 150286) of VMF(AW)-232, observed Major Pendergraft's aircraft leaving the target area trailing smoke; he also saw it go into the water. Only minutes later Martin himself was hit by ground fire while making a low-level bombing run on NVA positions near Thon Cam Son, also within the DMZ. His aircraft on fire, Major Martin headed for the open water, escorted by a section of A-4s. By the time the fire forced him to eject, a USAF HH-3 helicopter was on scene, having launched from Danang in response to the SAR call for Major Pendergraft's aircraft. Major Martin was picked up and survived the incident.

On the ground, 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, had been inserted by helicopter on the enemy's left flank and the massive weight of U. S. air and artillery support was taking its toll on the NVA. By evening the NVA had broken contact, withdrawing into the DMZ.

By that time Bravo 1/9 had been destroyed as a fighting force - Bravo 1/9, understrength to begin with, had 58 men killed in action. Alpha 1/9 had 13 killed in action, and H&S Company 15 - including eight Corpsmen.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 28 Sep 2001
Last updated 08/10/2009