WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published November 11, 2009, 04:11 PM

Area Veteran Shares Stories Of War

Today on veterans day a Grand Forks man and Vietnam Vet is thinking about his experiences more than three decades ago.

By: Steve Bodakowski, WDAZ

More than three decades after fighting in the Vietnam war, Ray Nay is reflecting on his many memories.

Ray Nay: "You just don't realize how much people give up for our country they do it for low pay long hours and so much sacrifice."

Nay is one of them. In 1969 after being drafted into the 82nd airborne combat batallion he became what's called a Tunnel Rat. Squeezing through small Vietnamese tunnels looking for weapons, ammunition and booby traps.

Ray Nay: "They would tie a rope to your ankle and with a pistol and flashlight you would go in. The rope was because the tunnels were built for Vietnamese, they were smaller than Americans."

Nay says even today he thinks about the fear he felt and the battles he fought. One in particular, where he ended up in the middle of gunfight trying to take an injured medic to safety.

Ray Nay: "We got two clicks away from the boat and saw fire, boy the fear, I remember laying down shooting aimlessly just trying to keep them off."

Nay says he was on of the luck ones, although at the time didn't realize just how lucky he was."

Ray Nay: "A mortar came in and the shrapnel caught the guy in the head right next to me I hit the dirt and it missed me."

Today Ray has created a sort of museum, including many pieces of memorabilia he bought back from his 8 months in the Vietnam war, including this, his original hat.

Nay says to him veterans day means a lot of things, but its all about the honor.

Ray Nay: "I'm so glad when they come back now they're honored it used to be different. I came back from the war put my uniform away and didn't want to tell anyone."

Nay says he has a lot of respect for today's veterans and can relate to what them and their families are going through as we celebrate veterans day.