Fallen Heroes of Operation Enduring Freedom

Remembering the servicemembers who died in the service of their country.

Army Staff Sgt. Joseph R. Ray

29, of Asheville, North Carolina.
Ray died west of Asadabad, Afghanistan, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV during combat operations. He was assigned to the Army Reserve's 391st Engineer Battalion, Asheville, North Carolina. Died on March 12, 2006.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Army Staff Sgt. Joseph R. Ray.


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Leave a message in memory of this servicemember, and/or to the loved ones left behind.

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"Thank you for making me better Staff Sergeant, I wish I could have saved you. I live with it best I can. Never forgotten Ray Ray!"
Doc Eddie of La

"We remember Joe every day...but especially on this and every Memorial Day 2015."
The Mayo Family of Weaverville, NC

"Like a puzzle with the missing piece. Seems like just yesterday we lost you To heaven. Not a day goes by that I don't think of you that infectious smile you had The love that you shared with your friends The laughter and brightness you brought into the room You are truly 1 of a kind and I miss you everyday my brother I love you!"

"Joe, I went to visit you today! It seems like yesterday we were walking the halls at Reynolds High School. You are one of the sweetest people I have ever met and you truly made my days better when we were in school! I miss you you were a great friend. I pray that your wife and children will have the strength to go on. You were truly a wonderful person! You will never be forgotten!"
Donna Hildebran of Fletcher, NC

"Our paths crossed for the last time at J-Bad March 11 of that year. I was sent in my direction, and you in yours. When i got the news, i was in Bagram already. You will NEVER BE FORGOTTEN! I pray for your family every day."
Retired of US ARMY

"I never stop missing you. So hard to believe that Allyson turned 8 today.
She is beautiful! She has your smile."
Aunt Jan of Asheville

"Ray Ray, I thought of you today so I googled your name just to see if I could find anything about your memorial and found this! I cant believe it has been over 5 years since you left us for Heaven. I remember sitting with you on the bus, on the way to the green zone to fly out. I asked you if you would keep me under your wing because I have never been overseas and you have and I knew you knew your stuff. I felt like you were my second dad and you took care of me. That day, after I asked you that, you said "I got you bud." I will never forget you and I wear you KIA bracelet all the time. Till the day I see you in Heaven, I LOVE YOU!"

"Had some talks about the past, mainly around that jail, and all the "fun" we all had! Alot of talk about the infectious smile held by only one, Joe Ray. Alot of laughs and alot of fond memories. We will never forget you!"
Jennifer Lawrence of Asheville, NC

"Heart broken today lil Joe. Missin your friendly personality and sweet smile !!! Can't wait to see you again !!! Until then, thank you for all you did for us and all that I know you continue to do even though we cannot see !!!!"
Tracey of Asheville NC

"Can't believe you are gone....You are in all our thoughts......You will never be forgotten.....I should have been there. i live with that demon daily......"
Charlie co. 391st

"My family misses you! Dad misses you the most!"
Kate Ford of Asheville, NC

"Wow I can't believe it has been more than 4yrs since I picked up the phone and heard you say"hey babygirl" How I long to hear your voice and wish for one more I love You. I know you watch over me and our children everyday and even tho you are gone you still give me the strengh and love to move on and to find happiness!I feel you smile down on me everytime the sun shines. Miss you bunches sweetie !!!"
Annastasia Ray

"My favorties lyrics from:
"I Have Been Blessed"
We live in a country
The greatest on Earth
Our flag stands for freedom
And what it is worth
She stands in the harbor
Mrs Liberty calls
All have gave some
But some gave it ALL
For me to be blessed♰"
Stacey M. of Candler, NC

"Feeling sad for some reason today,
Not knowing it's just a day away,
That God took you to be with Him,
Joe Ray we miss you so!
Your smile would light up a room! You are a true hero and never will be forgotten! Holding your family in prayer during this time of year."
Eva Lamb Cogburn of Asheville, NC

"Little Bro, Wish you were here to see Tyler graduate from Basic Training tomorrow. I know you would be so proud of your little bro. I'm proud of you both. I think it's pretty damn cool that he's graduating on the anniversary of your death, kinda like God looking out for him. Can't believe he's almost 21. Sure wish you were here to order him a fruity pink drink on his birthday."
Kim of Wilmington, NC (well the Philly airport right now)

Thank you for your courage and that smile I will never forget!
Donna T. Fairview, NC"
Donna of Fairview NC

"We've not forgot you Joe!! You're in our hearts and minds... Praying for your Family today!!!"
Jonathan Ray of Fairview,NC

"Still remembering you on your Birthday
Feb 27,2010"
an Old Friend of Asheville,NC

"Still remembering you on your Birthday"
an Old Friend of Asheville,NC

"Hey Joe,
It has been a while since I wrote, but you know you live in my heart everyday. I can't believe another birthday is appoaching without you!! I miss you so much. Little Miss A sure has your smile and you would be so proud of her.
Love always!!."
Aunt J. of Asheville NC

"Still remembering you and missing your Smile
Feb 17 2010"
an Old Friend of Asheville,NC

"hey man i never told you this but even though we were stepbrothers i always thought of you as my brother you are a great mentor and a wonderful leader i know you served our country proudly and with honor and you will never be forgotten and by the way you little girl is beautiful man she looks just like you but i guess ill go now
we love you man"
zach lewis of asheville, n.c


There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of the support and leadership you demonstrated. You were a true friend to my working dog, Allen and I, along with Jerry and Duko. We preya nd think of you and your family ecery day.

Semper Fi,

League City, Tx"
William of League City, Tx

"Dearest Little Joe, My firend and I think about you all the time. We have so many great memories of you and I know without a doubt that you saved my life back in 2001. I will be forever greatful... you are truly a hero. We will never forget you! God bless your family. love, a friend in fairview"
of fairview nc usa

"It's been a while since I typed your name in google. It always pulls up the same articles about you in Iraq. I see that story and think, this isn't real. But the sorrow I feel from time to time lets me know it's reality. Your plaque at the Sheriffs office is nice. They had your picture up at the Buncombe County Sherrifs main office on Haywood road at Christmas time. Got that picture on my phone. I remember when you were living out here with Mendy and Doug.. Those were good days... I sure miss you... But your only gone from my sight... Never Forgotten... Always remembered and I'm forever thankful for your sacrifice.. Little did we know that one day you would die in a foreign land for our freedom.... Your were brave!! You stood the test!!! and for you now is Glory!!"
Jon Ray of Fairview,NC,USA

"By the way, I took care of those flowers for you on Feb 15th. You knew you could always count on me.
Love Aunt Jan"
Jan of Asheville NC

"Happy Birthday Joe. We miss you so very much. Feb. 27, 2008"
Jan and Rhiannon of Asheville NC

"Lil Joe,
Wow...What to say...Tears are a language God understands... I could spend all day trying to say thank you..It wouldn't be enough.. Memories get us by now... I have some great memories of Home Room...Laughing and cutting up...That smile...I can see you smiling... I knew you served our Country with Honor and Pride!! And it's with Honor and Pride I say THANKS...YOUR my hero...."
Jonathan Ray of Fairview, NC USA

"Christmas will never be the same without you! I love you and miss you so very much. I hope you like the red rose Rhi chose for you for Christmas, but could you please order some better weather for our visits? I know God sent us that wonderful needed rain but I suppose you were laughing at me as I walked barefoot in an inch of rain because I forgot to wear my old shoes.
At church on New Year's Eve, they played the song:'It has Always Been the Soldier" They played a video to pay tribute to our Soldiers who secure our freedom. Yes, it has always been heroes like you.
Continue to watch over us until we are all together again. Not a day goes by without me thinking of you and missing you."
Jan of Asheville NC

"September 14, 2007
To the family of Staff Sgt. Joseph R. Ray:
Joseph gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. I cannot and will not let our fallen heroes be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to you. "Some gave all."
Peggy Childers
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"It has been over 14 months Joey..Mattie,Dawn,Bobby and Bob will spend the rest of our lives living for you.You are our man,our hero,our go to guy. You represent every thing that your parents and us stand for.We will watch over you and your family until we hand off our watch to our next generation. We do not forget."
Robert Doney of Fairfax VA

"Joe, you are missed by many and touched many hearts. I miss your smile!"
an old friend of asheville nc

"Hi Joe!!!!!!!! I miss you. Happy Easter!
I wish you could have been here for Easter dinner. I know you are taking good care of Thumper and Quacker in heaven.
You are very brave to have risked your life for our country.I Love you!!!!!!!!!"
Rhiannon of Asheville

"Happy Easter! I love you amd miss you so much!!"
Jan of Asheville

"Joe Man I miss you so very much! I had such a tough day on March 12th. I know you know how much I was hurting and you stayed by my side through that day. I just can't believe it has been a year since you were taken from us. I was going through pictures the other day and I found one of you and Rhiannon when you gave her one of the soldier bears. I put it on the refrigerator.
You know Thumper died and went to be with you. Rhiannon and I cried because we knew you would help us bury her if you could. Take care of her until we see all of you again.
Love always, Jan"

"Joe has been in my thoughts a lot today, on the anniversary of his death. I can see his smiling face as if he was right in front of me and know that a big hug would be to follow. Joe was a very special person who made the greatest of sacrifices. I hope his family knows as time goes on, he will always be in our hearts. God bless."
Beth Ray of Fairview, NC

"It has been so long since I've seen you, but I have thought of you every day. There were so many wonderful things about you that make you impossible to forget...
I didn't think that there was any way I could miss you more, but today I found out how wrong I was. I will always love you."
Mandy of Dallas, GA

"Well Joe, Valentine's has come and gone as well as Feb 15th. I'll never forget your call last year from Afghanistan asking me to get flowers from you for daddy's grave because you couldn't be here for Valentine's Day. I never dreamed I would be doing it for you and Daddy and Jeff this year.
I miss you so very much and you will always be with me until we are together again.I LOVE YOU!"
Jan of Asheville NC

I would like to say thank you for your service and sacrifice for our Country-not just in OEF, but also for your service in Iraq as well. And to your family and loved ones, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

"Sappers Up!"

"Joe, I can hardly believe that Christmas has come and gone without you. Not a day goes by without me missing you. Lee and his dad got the VW running today and of course that brought tears to my eyes. Rhi named the car Little Joe.(all restored cars get a name!)You had a blocked gasline and a stuck valve.. that's why it wouldn't keep running!
Everytime I look in Kebo's big brown eyes I think of you. You would adore him. I still think you sent him to me!!!"
Aunt Jan of Asheville NC

"You are truely missed! Your smile could brighten any day and your heart could not possibly have been any bigger. I love you and think of you daily! YOU WILL ALWAYS BE PART OF OUR FAMILY AND WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN!"
Hollie Jacobsen of Hendersonville, NC

"Ray Ray you will not be forgotten. A great guy, leader, soldier. American Hero. I was your favorite mexican."
Espiridion"Rod"Rodriguez of New Port Richey Florida

I miss you so much brother! There is never a minute I dont think of you. I will always cherish the times we had together, Lord knows ther were many. You were a best friend to me. The four of us were like the 4 horsemen. I wish so much that I was with you and Ache so I too could have gone with my brothers. Not just brothers in arms brothers by a much stronger bond than even blood. I will NEVER in my life forget you I know that you will always be by my side. I LOVE YOU RAY-RAY, my brother"
Matt Jacobsen (Jake) of Hendersonville, NC

"To the Ray family; with the holidays coming up on us so soon, this can cause us to reflect on those who have gone to be with the Lord. I remember when my cousin of 32 died of breast cancer. I was trying my best to cheer up her 5 1/2 year old. God gave me this to tell her. you know how hard we try to prepare for the holidays and worry about this gift and that. just remember jesus went to prepare a place for us and by now those in heaven should have the holidays down pat.
I miss Ray Ray and he was a gift to many. Now he's gone to prepare a grand reception for those he loved.. god bless you and peace that passes all understanding thru Christ Jesus"
SFC Charles. Horrell & Thea of Easley SC usa

Please KNOW so many people share your sadness,
and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief.
Our nations HERO, Joseph will be remembered by name.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Pat & Sandi Breckenridge / Montana
May we always remember: FREEDOM ISN'T FREE!


"Thank you Joseph Ray, you will not be forgotten. Your bravery goes beyond words. I want to express my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice. To the family and friends, my prayers and deep condolences in your loss. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. God bless you all. A very appreciative fellow American,"
Leo Titus of Grayslake, Illinios

"To the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Joseph Ray:
May God's grace be with you during your time of grief. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and we feel your loss and share in your sorrow. Bless Joseph for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"To the family and friends of Staff Sgt. Joseph Ray:
I am saddened by the loss of your loved one. He will always be remembered as a hero for fighting for freedom. I hope that this website will be a source of comfort and encouragement for you during this difficult time, and in the future as you recall the memories of Joseph, who continues to live on in your heart."
Tim Rivera of Powder Springs, Georgia

Honor them by remembering... Freedom - is their gift to us But his soul goes marching on