Ray Green

Ray Green

Ray - Janice (Johnson Green) - Hazel

Mr. Mrs. Ray Green (Hazel) - taken 1992

Raymond Eugene Green was born on November 7, 1917 in Sayre, Oaklahoma.  He married Hazel Clifford in 1942.  He served in the Army Air Corps during World War II where he flew 42 missions in a B-24 Liberator in the Pacific Theater.  He worked as an office manager for Montag Oil Company until his retirement and has served Picture taken 1995 directory in 3rd floor kitchen as Business Administrator in a volunteer capacity here at Temple since 1982.   He also served on many boards and committees as well as helping out in the kitchen. In December, 1992 they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  A big reception was held in the Upper Room.  Ray died on February 5, 2004, at the age of 86.  A memorial service was held at Temple Baptist Church on Monday, February 9. 2004 at 1 PM.


The following words were written and read at Ray's memorial by Mrs. Kyle (Cathy) HornessCathy is the secretary in the church office.      

    "God saw Ray was getting tired, and a cure was not to be, 
        So He put his arms around him, and whispered, "Come With Me."
          With tearful eyes we watched him suffer, and saw Ray fade away.  
                Although we loved him dearly, we could not make him stay.  
                    A golden heart stopped beating, hard working hands to rest;  
                        God took Ray from this earth to prove to us He only takes 'The Best.'"

    "I not only have had the pleasure, but the privilege to work with Ray every week for the past 6 years.  When I began working here I was also fairly new to Temple so I didn't know if Ray was "tough and gruff" or justPoster that hung in Ray's cubicle in the church office. occasionally putting on a tough exterior.  It didn't take me long to figure out that he sometimes used this "tough tone' to mask his gentle heart and soft spirit.
    Occasionally we would both work on Mondays when the office was closed, giving us time to not only catch up on our work but to talk and learn more about each other.
    After listening to his stories and hearing his hidden Oklahoma accent, I told Ray that my dad was also from Oklahoma and that he had died when I was 22 years old, and he was lot like him in a lot of ways.
    From that time on Ray was like a dad to me giving advice and showing concern when things were not going well for me.  He even knew how to dodge my attitudes.
    When my grandchildren came into the office he was a grandfather to them as well as all the other children that came by.
    When you work in a small office like ours we are not just employees but we are a "working family."
    Losing Ray is very hard for me.
    Ray confided in the staff about most of the changes in his health.  But because he cared so much for us he made sure he told it in a way that he thought he could protect us from worry to sorrow.
    Ray saw this church as a lighthouse and he definitely was a 'Keeper of the Light.'"        Cathy Horness

Ray speaking to Tom Kornelis.  A poster from the church office.

The following was written by Dr. Fred Prinzing former pastor of Temple Baptist Church in the Baptist General Conference periodical, "The Standard."

He's Good for Nothing

    Shortly after I arrived as pastor of Temple Baptist Church, Portland, OR., one of the older men attempted to tell me the difference between us church staff members and other who worked in the church, "You guys get paid for being good," he explained.  "The rest of us are good for nothing."
    No church could function without a host of these people who volunteer to do good words for no pay.  Ray Green is one of those people.  He started attending Temple 35 years ago, and over the years he and his wife have been faithfully involved in a number of responsibilities.  A member of our deacon board, for some time he has led the Tuesday morning men's prayer breakfast.  
    Four years ago Ray retired from his job as manager of an oil company and now serves as the church's business administrator.
    A growing number of retired people in the Baptist General Conference are finding fulfillment in being "good for nothing."
Volunteering Is Nothing New 
    However, volunteering to serve is nothing new to Ray Green.  In 1940, he enlisted in the US Army Air Force, and during World War II completed 48 missions, most of these aboard a B-24 bomber.
    On one mission his plane, called the Blessed Event, lost its engine about five minutes from its target, Rabaul in1st Lieutenant Raymond K. Green, US Army Air-Corp, Pilot B-24 Liberator. the Solomon Islands.  The faltering bomber became an inviting target for the dozens of Japanese Zeros that swarmed the sky.
    The left rudder had been shot away, the landing gear was blasted. the radio and electric systems disrupted and the instrument panel riddled.  One crew member was dead, eight of the remaining ones wounded.  That day the crew of the Blessed Event downed at least four Zeros, perhaps as many as seven, in a blazing 40-minute fight.
    Limping back to its base, the plane skidded to a stop in a crash landing.  Twenty-one shells and more than 100 machine gun bullets had laced the big bomber.  
    Ray Green was wounded in the neck. arm and shoulder.  After the plane landed on its A frame with the medals Ray earned during his tour of duty. belly. he stepped through a hole as big as a wash tub, cut out a plane's by Japanese bullets.
    Lieutenant Green received a Purple Heart, Silver Star, the Air Medal with oak leaf cluster and a Presidential  Citation for his heroism in the South Pacific.  A US War Department release reported that "it is unlikely that any crew in any theater of war will ever encounter more severe handicaps and hazards.  Ho one can pay a high enough tribute to the courage and fighting caliber displayed by this crew....No honor or no award would be too great to bestow."  
    Most volunteers never receive adequate reward for their faithful service.  People are performing just as great service in our churches too with adequate reward  Hats off to all the people who, like Ray Green, are "good for nothing."

Fred W Prinzing

The following was found on Ray's desk at his home by his daughter Janice.

    Having been born and raised in a Christian home, at the age of nine I made a decision for Christ.  I wasRay and Hazel in 1942 sent by Mrs. Janice Johnson Green. baptized and joined a church but as I look back, I don't remember that any change took place.  I continued thru high school and entered the Air Corps, became a pilot and was discharged at the end of World War II.  During that time, I never gave much thought to the claims of Christ on my life.  In fact, had stopped attending any church.  When our daughter was three years old, my wife and I felt she should be in church so we started taking her to Sunday School and attending a class ourselves.  During the next several months as we continued attending, I began to realize the need to live my life for Christ.  One Sunday during a worship service, I bowed my head and asked Christ to come into my life.  I really wanted to serve Him.  He slowly began changing my life, giving me new desires and ambitions.  Things and activities that seemed very important became less important or completely unnecessary.  I started to see the truth of God's word which says that if any man be in Christ he is a new creature, old things are passed away, all things become new.  It's truly wonderful to be able to trust in God.

A Plane for Ray by Don Strandberg

    Ray Green has spent at least 40 years on various board and committees at Temple besides serving as businessRay with B-24 in their living room sent by Mrs. Janice Johnson Green.  Model of B-24 made by Mr. Don Strandberg provided by Mrs. Janice Johnson Green.manager.  I joined Ray for many of those years from trustee boards to finance committees---but it's only been in the last few years that very much has been said about Ray's war years.  Ray flew 42 missions in the B-24 D Liberator---one of histories great warplanes.  A US Air Force World War II Bomber, a "workhorse" that served in every global war theatre.  The first Liberator was flown in late December 1939, and before the war was over, more than 18,000 were built and flown by the Allied Nations.
    I built a 1/28th scale model of the B-24 D Liberator for Ray.  The scale is 7/16 inch = 1 foot, or a 48-inch wingspan and a length of 29 inches.  I think he likes it!
Editor's note:  Don spent a year working on the model.  His brother, Paul Strandberg, built the display stand.   We all got to share in the joy of the gift at the Annual Meeting dinner in November 2000.   We watched a portion of a video interview of war hero Green, conducted by Joe Ryan and taped by Dean Barron, and then enjoyed the surprise as Don made the presentation.

The following are excerpts taken from a carbon copy of an article entitled "Back from the Dead" (Ap. #533, B-24-D 13th Air Force). The author's name is not given. It is such a dramatic description of the tragic mission in which Louis lost his life, I feel that parts of it should be transmitted to the Duflot -posterity. The Duflot family furnished six recruits for World War II. three of whom served in the Southwest Pacific. namely. Louis Reed George, Maurice Eugene Thompson and Leo S.M. Duflot.

"Back from the Dead"

Out of the fury of the air-battle for Japan's great base at Rabaul came a story last week of an All American bomber crew that took everything a swarm of intercepting zeros could throw at them and came back to tell theA poster made for Ray's memorial on the military table at Temple Ray's picture in uniform and the plane Don Strandberg made for him. tale. Forced by engine trouble to fall out of formation over Simpson Harbor, the heart of the enemy's greatest Southwest Pacific base. The crew of the Liberator bomber "Blessed Event" weathered certain death in as murderous a fire as dozens of Jap fighters could deal out, then nursed their torn and crippled ship home. Every member of the crew with the exception of one was wounded. One was killed outright and another was fatally wounded. The airplane is believed to be one of the most badly shot up heavy bomber ever to return from combat. Led by Lt. Harry P. John. The first pilot who is of Syrian ancestry, the crew roster of the "Blessed Event" reads like a Notre Dame football line-up: Scotch-Irish-Indian co-pilot. French-Scotch navigator. Jewish bombardier.  English-Irish-Scotch nose gunner, English-Irish tail gunner, Dutch-Irish ball turret gunner, and an Irish waist gunner.  "Blessed Event" was a member of a heavy bomber formation that set out to attack Lakunai airdrome at Rabaul on New Year's Day. Just five minutes before the bombing run, engine troubles slowed down "Blessed Event" and she dropped behind the formation. Zero pilots jumped the straggler immediately and scored hits with 20mm shells in the nose section. One burst completely knocked out the engine controls, smashed the instrument panel, wounded both the pilot and co-pilot, and filled the cockpit with smoke. Another burst seriously injured the bombardier and wounded the nose gunner.  In the next wave of attacks, another 20mm. shell exploded on the flight deck, killing the navigator, Lt. Louis R. George, outright and inflicting a severe abdominal wound onRay in his pilots uniform. the top turret gunner. Although he slid from the turret when hit, he returned to his post at the pilot's request and continued to fire as long as zeros attacked despite the pain and weakness from loss of blood. The Jap fighters paid a penalty for facing the wrath of the crippled bombers guns. Three zeros were positively shot down and five more were listed as probable only because gunner's didn't have time to watch smoking Japs hit the water. But the "Blessed Event" was badly hurt. Twenty-one20mm shells had hit her, each one tearing a hole as big as a washtub; in addition to more than eight hundred smaller holes from 7.7mm machine gun fire. The landing gear, flaps, The engine controls were shot away. All of the control surfaces were badly damaged, one rudder was gone..."1 don't know how we kept flying", the pilot said. " The wings were so full of holes that all we had left was a prayer. The engines had lost so much power that we could have been in the drink long before."

The closest friendly landing strip was a fighter base on Bougainville Island in the heart of Jap-held territory. Because he knew the crew must have immediate medical attention and the airplane would not fly far in its present condition, Lt. John decided to land there despite the danger of air raids and ground attack. In the usual prosaic reports of Army Intelligence the next day, appeared the following eloquent tribute to the gallantry and teamwork of Ray on left and the crew of the Blessed Event. the crew of the "Blessed Event". It is unlikely that any crew in any theater of war will ever encounter more severe handicaps and hazards than experienced by Lt. John's crew, causing death and severe wounding of crew members, and placing the plane in a "Clay Pigeon" category. In spite of everything, the crew continued to function as the death-dealing unit it was trained to be and in addition accounted for three positive kills and five probables of enemy fighters. The seriously wounded were cared for the less seriously wounded as effectively that only one of the wounded did not survive. No one can pay a high enough tribute to the courage and fighting caliber displayed by this crew. No one could have done more brilliant a job throughout. No honor or award would be too great to bestow.

The crew roster follows:
Pilot Lt. Harry P. John, 825 South Park Ave., Crowley, Louisiana
Co-Pilot Lt. Raymond E. Green, RFD #3, Sayre, Oklahoma
Navigator Lt. Louis R. George, Lone Ferry Rd" Texarkana, Arkansas .(Killed)
Bombardier Lt. Lester NMI Kornblum, 119 Bank St., New York, New York
Engineer Sgt. Chas. E. Derri, Star Route, Westminister, South Carolina
Radioman S/Sgt Thomas G. Craven, 161 First Ave., E.N. Kalispell, Montana (Fatally wounded)
Ass't Radio S/Sgt Dennis T. Ryan, Route #2, Palisades, Minnesota
Tail gunner Sgt. Eugene R. Baldridge, 522 Fletcher Ave., Apt. #1 Indianapolis, Indiana
Nose gunner S/Sgt William N. Barlow, Jr., Route #2 Box 302, Redlands, California
Ball gunner S/Sgt John E. Lemon, 647 Franklin Ave" Kent, Ohio

    "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
                                                                                                                                  Psalm 23

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