Capt Thomas W “Pete” Ray
Mar 14, 1931 to Apr. 19, 1961
Photo provided by Find A Grave and Aircrew
Participant in the Bay of Pigs Invasion. Pilot. Alabama Air National Guardsmen. Recipient of Distinguished Intelligence Cross (The Central Intelligence Agency’s highest award for Heroism.)
On April 19, 1961, Pilot, Capt “Pete” Ray and Flight Engineer, Leo Baker were shot down in their B-26 Bomber near Playa Giron, Cuba. The two men survived the crash but were killed in a shootout with Cuban Soldiers. (According to therealcuba.com he received a shot at close range to the right temple and is considered to have been assassinated.)
Fidel Castro ordered Ray’s body preserved as evidence in Cuba for more than 17 years. Finally in December 1979, after the Cubans learned of a personal mission by Ray’s daughter, Janet Ray Weininger, to find his body, the Cuban government returned the pilot’s body to Alabama.
Ray served as a 1st Lieutenant in the US Army.
Shield of the Alabama Air National Guard
Emblem of the United States Air National Guard
If any of the information I’ve shared is incorrect or you have something to add, please comment or contact me through the link in the top menu or button on the bottom right of your screen. Verification of facts are always welcome.
The protagonist of my WID (Work in Development) is a physical therapist who works with wounded vets. Through my research I’ve discovered patriots that leave me awe-filled, many of whom gave their life for their country. If I’ve learned only one thing, it is that these soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines don’t do what they do for notoriety, they love their job, their country and their brothers (and sisters) in arms. I encourage you to do a bit of research on these warriors, but keep in mind that initial media reports often contain unverified information and for security reasons many details of operations are never revealed.