Raymond "Ray" Carson Griffiths was a member of the Spring Class of 1965 of Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco.
Ray was born in North Sidney, Australia on January 1, 1947, to Albert "Mickey" and Gwendolyn Maud (Andrews) Griffiths. He was an only child. His father was born on February 27, 1923, in Shanghai, China, and his mother was born on October 4, 1920, in Shanghai, China.
After the family was established in San Francisco, Raymond was enrolled in St. Agnes Grammar School. Upon finishing grammar and junior high school, he entered Abraham Lincoln High School in 1962. He was active at Lincoln in the Reel Winders Club and was also a member of the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps. While at Lincoln, he organized a band -- calling themselves "The Morticians." Ray played bass guitar and was the lead singer. Raymond graduated in the Forty-eighth Commencement Class on June 30, 1965.
He entered City College of San Francisco after graduating from Lincoln.
However, he soon enlisted in the U. S. Marine Corps. He had initially intended to enlist in the U. S, Air Force. Upon hearing that his best friend, Bill Wheatley, had been killed in the Marine Corps, he changed his mind and enlisted in the Marines.
After basic training and advanced training, he was ordered to South Vietnam and the 3rd Marine Division. He started his tour of duty just after Christmas, 1965. He was subsequently assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment. He entered combat as a private first class. During hostile action in Quang Nam Province, he stepped on a mine and lost both legs. He knew what had happened and died a few days later on July 4, 1966. At th e time of his death, he was 19 years old. He was awarded the Purple Heart Medal.
While in Vietnam, Ray wrote letters to his good friend Madeline Velasco. One of his letters to Madeline dated in June 1968 was highlighted in the book and movie, Dear America, Letters Home from Vietnam.
With the permission of Madeline Velasco, part of Ray's letter is quoted below:
". . . I tell you truthfully, I doubt if I'll come out of this alive. In my original squad I'm the only one left unharmed. In my platoon there's only 13 of us. It seems every day another young guy 18 and 19 years old like myself is killed in action . . . All of us are scared cause we know a lot of us won't make it."
Like 58,000 others, Private Raymond Griffiths didn't make it. He was killed in action in 1966, on the 4th of July. He is listed on the Record of the Secretary of Defense, Viet Nam Combat Casualty List.
He is listed on the Record of the Secretary of Defense, Vietnam Combat Casualty List, 1957-1986, of Military Personnel from California, as having died of wounds.
Raymond C. Griffiths' name is engraved on Panel 8E, Row 130, on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D. C.
His remains were returned to the United States and interred on July 11, 1966, at the Golden Gate National Cemetery, San Bruno, San Mateo County, California, in Section C, Grave 710A.