Fascinated with his older brothers’ letters home from World War II, 16-year-old Raymond Ayon dropped out of high school in 1945. He signed up for the Merchant Marines–but after a year they learned he was too young. Ayon went back to school, graduated, and enlisted in the Air Force in 1948. His first assignment was with a fighter bomber squadron in Japan, but the Air Force decided to make a medical corpsman out of him. Shortly after the United States went to war in Korea in 1950, Ayon was in the thick of things, loading casualties onto transport planes bound for Japan. He spent time with a MASH unit, claiming it was hardly like what was depicted in the famed TV show. Ayon is sensitive to those who would diminish his service just because he wasn’t an infantry soldier.
We honor you Raymond Ayon.