Alexandria, Va. – Major Ray E. Murphy, U.S. Army (ret.), Vietnam War veteran and recipient of HAI’s 2012 Eurocopter Golden Hour Award, passed away on December 21, 2012.
Ray was born in Bellefontaine, Ohio, in July of 1942. He joined the U.S. Army when he was 18 and completed two tours in Vietnam, including one as a helicopter pilot. For his actions he was awarded two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart, among other commendations.
When Ray retired from the Army he went to work for the FAA’s Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) in Oakland, California, eventually retiring as a principal operations inspector. He also continued to share his passion for aviation as both a fixed- and rotary-wing flight instructor from the late-1970s until this past year. He was well-loved by his students for his firm yet supportive teaching style, always praising hard work and dedication.
In September 2011, Ray and his Vietnam Helicopters 25th Infantry Division Huey crew were displaying a restored Bell UH-1D at the Reno Air Races in Nevada when they were pressed into action to transport casualties following a horrific accident. They were ready to go even before any of the local EMS helicopters had arrived on the scene. All of the patients Ray and his crew transported survived. For their actions that day, Ray and his crew were awarded HAI’s 2012 Salute to Excellence Eurocopter Golden Hour Award.
Ray is survived by his mother, Ruth E. Murphy; his brothers, Todd and Richard Murphy; daughter, Elizabeth Gilligan, and her husband Douglas; son, Dana Murphy, and his life partner Brian; grandchildren, Brianna Gilligan-Luhrman and Patrick Gilligan; and great-granddaughters, Alexis and Olivia Luhrman, as well as many dear friends. His wife of 46 years, Pamela, preceded him in death.