Ray Burchett, 65, of Battle Ground, died at his residence on Thursday, September 8, 2011, after a lengthy illness. He was born on May 13, 1946, in Tippecanoe County, was graduated from Battle Ground High School in 1964, and Purdue University in 1968. Ray was attending The Ohio State University School of Physical Therapy when drafted into the Army in 1969. He later earned his Master’s Degree from Webster University of St. Louis, MO and was an Honor Graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College at Ft Leavenworth, KS.
While assigned to the US Army Special Forces at Ft Bragg, NC, he was tendered appointment into the Medical Service Corps to attend rotary wing flight school, which he accepted. After graduating from flight school, he was assigned to aeromedical evacuation pilot duties in Vietnam where he earned several awards, including the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal for Valor, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star. Ray was rated in both helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, was awarded Master Aviator Wings from the Army and earned his multi-engine (land), commercial instrument rating from the FAA.
In addition to his tour in Vietnam, Ray served in various command and staff positions at many locations throughout the continental United States and Korea. He retired from the Army in 1988. A short time later Ray accepted an administrative position at Purdue University, from which he retired in 2003. Ray was a lifetime member of the DUSTOFF Association for medical evacuation pilots and crewmembers, the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association, the American Legion, and the Disabled American Veterans Association.