Memorial Day – Honoring My Grandfather

 

For this year’s Memorial Day I would like to honor a specific US Army soldier: Fay Buckingham Rayburn, my grandfather. Fay and his twin brother Frank were ambulance drivers in the US Expeditionary Force in World War I. I mentioned Fay’s service in a post a few months back and I’ve since learned more about what his Citation was awarded for.

Fay and Frank enlisted in the US Army in 1917 and served together in an ambulance company in the 91st Division of the US AEF. During the Battle of Ypres-Lys in October-November 1918, Fay volunteered to take his ambulance into the town of Oudenarde, Belgium under heavy German shelling to bring out wounded officers and men. For this effort, he received a citation awarded by General John “Black Jack” Pershing, the Commander of the American Expeditionary Force. The citation, along with US and State of Oregon service medals, can be seen in the attached photo. In 1932 the US reinstituted the Purple Heart medal. At that point, it was awarded for Meritorious Service as well as to those who were wounded or killed. Fay was awarded the Purple Heart that can be seen in the other photo (my wife had these medals and citations framed for my mother this past Christmas) for the same episode.

Thank you Fay, Frank and the host of others who have served.

Published in History
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There are 7 comments.

  1. Arahant Member

    It’s pretty nifty to have that history.

    • #1
    • May 25, 2019, at 9:19 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  2. She Thatcher
    She

    The Great Adventure!: Battle of Ypres-Lys in October-November 1918, Fay volunteered to take his ambulance into the town of Oudenarde, Belgium under heavy German shelling to bring out wounded officers and men. For this effort he received a citation awarded by General John “Black Jack” Pershing, the Commander of the American Expeditionary Force.

    Wow. What a hero. 

    My great-grandmother’s sister’s husband was killed at Lys in an earlier battle, in April of 1918. It was an absolute hell-hole. Herbert Mapson, married man and father of a six-year old daughter, had just been drafted as a private in the British Army, at the age of 40, the country was that desperate. He only lasted a couple of weeks. He was the last family member of mine that I know of who was killed in combat.

    • #2
    • May 25, 2019, at 11:55 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. Sweezle Member

    A wonderful story and memory for Memorial Day weekend. Thanks for sharing it and for your wife in creating such a beautiful family history display.

    • #3
    • May 25, 2019, at 12:26 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  4. The Great Adventure! Member
    The Great Adventure! Post author

    She (View Comment):

    The Great Adventure!: Battle of Ypres-Lys in October-November 1918, Fay volunteered to take his ambulance into the town of Oudenarde, Belgium under heavy German shelling to bring out wounded officers and men. For this effort he received a citation awarded by General John “Black Jack” Pershing, the Commander of the American Expeditionary Force.

    Wow. What a hero.

    My great-grandmother’s sister’s husband was killed at Lys in an earlier battle, in April of 1918. It was an absolute hell-hole. Herbert Mapson, married man and father of a six-year old daughter, had just been drafted as a private in the British Army, at the age of 40, the country was that desperate. He only lasted a couple of weeks. He was the last family member of mine that I know of who was killed in combat.

    I often think of WWI as “The Forgotten War”, at least in the US. We entered the fray so late and suffered such minuscule losses compared to the other combatants that it’s easy to overlook it – at least in comparison to the Civil War and WWII. But for the European countries? For Canada, Australia? Hell-hole seems an inadequate description. 

    • #4
    • May 25, 2019, at 1:17 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  5. Arahant Member

    The Great Adventure! (View Comment):
    I often think of WWI as “The Forgotten War”, at least in the US. We entered the fray so late and suffered such minuscule losses compared to the other combatants that it’s easy to overlook it – at least in comparison to the Civil War and WWII. But for the European countries? For Canada, Australia? Hell-hole seems an inadequate description.

    Yeah, or forget things like that we invaded Russia in that war.

    Polar Bear Monument
    Polar Bear Monument, White Chapel Cemetery, Troy, MI — Memorializing the men of the United States Armed Forces who invaded Russia back in Wilson’s Administration.
    • #5
    • May 25, 2019, at 1:26 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  6. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    I’ve cross-linked this post at “Memorial Day Weekend “To Do” List.”

    • #6
    • May 25, 2019, at 7:23 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  7. Stad Thatcher

    The Great Adventure!: Fay and his twin brother Frank were ambulance drivers in the US Expeditionary Force in World War I.

    That had to be a terrible job . . . my hat’s off to them for their service.

    • #7
    • May 27, 2019, at 5:34 AM PDT
    • 2 likes