Heroic veteran Ray Lambert, an Army medic who survived grueling wounds sustained during Operation Overlord (D-Day) on June 6, 1944, has died at the age of 100.
Staff Sgt. Lambert lead a unit of medics with the Second Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment in World War II, according to The New York Times.
By the age of 23, Lambert had already earned three Purple Hearts and two Silver Stars for the wounds he suffered and the valor he showed fighting in North Africa and Sicily. While serving his country, Lambert fought side by side with his brother, Bill.
Ray Lambert was singled out by former President Donald Trump in a speech honoring veterans of Operation Overlord on the 75th anniversary of D-Day on June 6, 2019.
President Trump, in a speech on Omaha Beach, described Lambert’s heroic actions while commemorating the anniversary of D-Day.
Speaking of Operation Overlord, the president said, “In the early morning hours, the two brothers stood together on the deck of the U.S.S. Henrico, before boarding two separate Higgins landing craft. ‘If I don’t make it,’ Bill said, ‘please, please take care of my family.’ Ray asked his brother to do the same. Of the 31 men on Ray’s landing craft, only Ray and six others made it to the beach.”
The Times reports that “in heavy surf, Ray Lambert was helping a wounded soldier when a landing craft’s ramp dropped on him, pushing him to the bottom. The water was deep as the medics scrambled off the craft.”
President Trump recounted, “Again, and again, Ray ran back into the water. He dragged out one man after another. He was shot through the arm. His leg was ripped open by shrapnel. His back was broken. He nearly drowned. He had been on the beach for hours bleeding and saving lives when he finally lost consciousness.”
As he dragged soldiers onto the beach, he laid them behind a slab of German concrete. In a later interview, he said, “It was my salvation.” The concrete was given the nickname “Ray’s Rock” on a plaque installed in 2018. For his actions, he was attributed with saving at least 15 lives.
When Ray woke up on June 7, he found himself lying on a cot. He looked over, and there he saw his brother, Bill, who also survived the battle.
For his valor on Omaha Beach, Ray received a fourth Purple Heart and a third Silver Star.
In an interview following the 75th anniversary of D-Day, Lambert said that he did not know the president was going to mention his name. “I was very surprised when the president did tell my story,” Ray said.
Speaking humbly, which was characteristic of Lambert, he added, “I did feel personally good about what he said, but I didn’t take it that it was personally for me. He was talking about the American soldiers that had given their lives at Omaha beach.”
The Times notes that Lambert requested his ashes be buried at Arlington National Cemetery, with some also scattered on Omaha Beach.
At the age of 98, Lambert wrote and published his memoir, titled, “Every Man a Hero.” In it, he writes, “As a combat medic, my job was to save people and to lead others who did the same. I was proud of that job and remain so. But I was always an ordinary man, not one who liked being at the head of a parade.”
“My job now is to remember, not for my sake, but for the sake of others,” he added.
Though Mr. Lambert may have seen himself as an ordinary man, it’s clear that Staff Sgt. Lambert was an extraordinary American.
Thank you for your service, Mr. Lambert. Rest in Peace.
You can follow this author on Parler @ZacharyMettler
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