Saturday, October 29, 2005

Army Capt. Raymond D. Hill II

Remember Our Heroes

Army Capt. Raymond D. Hill II, 39, of Turlock, California.

Capt Hill died in Baghdad, Iraq when an improvised explosive device detonated near his HMMWV during patrol operations. He was assigned to the Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment, Modesto, California.

He was an inquisitive child who liked to wear his dad's fatigues. He was a big brother who would both tease and protect. He was a track stand-out, baritone player, college graduate, and a captain in the National Guard. He was a father who took his daughters to 4-H meetings and he was a husband who occasionally burned the chicken on the barbecue. He was Capt. Raymond Dwayne Hill II, 39, and he was one of the latest soldiers to die in combat in Iraq.

Ray was killed in Iraq Saturday when a roadside bomb exploded near his humvee while on patrol in Baghdad. He had been serving in Iraq since February as a Fire Support and Public Affairs Officer with the California Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment.

Ray believed wholeheartedly in his duty to serve and protect his country and that's why, despite the heartache of separating from his family, Ray volunteered to go to Iraq.

“He wanted to go. He believed in the effort 100 percent and had been training for 18 years for this,” Dena, his wife said. “He compared it to football. He said it was like going to practice everyday but never getting in the game. He always said that if he didn't go, somebody else would have to.”

“He was very passionate about his service and he looked after the soldiers under his command,” Major Dan Markert of the 184th Infantry Regiment said.

Born for the Army

A love of the military developed in Ray at a young age. He and his three brothers, Ron, Rod, and Russ would accompany their dad, 1st Sgt. Raymond Hill (retired) during his weekend drills with the 184th.

“He liked to play army and had one of the original G.I Joe's as a kid,” Raymond said.

When they returned home from these outings, Ray would organize his brothers into their own military unit.

“We'd all dress in our dad's fatigues, which were too big, and have our own drills,” Rod said. “He liked to be precise and meticulous.”

Besides an early love for the military, Raymond said his son Ray was an inquisitive child and liked to know how things worked.

“In sixth grade he had the nickname of the redheaded walking encyclopedia because he knew so much,” Rod said.

“He loved to play with tools and take things apart and put them back together again, sometimes with pieces left over,” Raymond said.

That early habit got Ray started in restoring classic cars. In an email he sent to his wife, he wrote that when he returned, he wanted to start working on his 1965 Mustang again, a project his oldest daughter BreeAnna would occasionally help him with.

“I'll miss doing that with him,” BreeAnna said.

As the oldest of four boys, Ray was often looked upon to guide his brothers in the right direction, but that doesn't mean he didn't sometimes take advantage of his older brother status.

“On Saturday mornings he would want to watch “American Bandstand” and we all wanted to watch “Scooby Doo.” He'd have three little kids ganging up on him, but we'd still end up watching “American Bandstand,” Rod said.

Army Capt. Raymond D. Hill II was killed in action on 10/29/05.


Anonymous said...

I knew the man.....I served with Cpt Hill....I was one of the CAV guys......and on this memorial day I remember him.....RIP Capt Hill

Kgorman said...

I was honored with his friendship through email and talking on the phone while he was in Iraq. God bless him and the others who make this ultimate sacrafice. Proud to have shared the little bit we did.I'm also Army strong

Anonymous said...

I knew him and miss him and my Gunnery Sargent does to. Makes me want to improve our military's saftey standards.

Anonymous said...

Every year at this time I catch myself thinking of you... It's hard to believe it's been 9 years since you were called home... As I look at your pictures, all that I can hear is "heaven was needing a HERO!"
"All gave some, some gave ALL"
Gone but never forgotten...