In this photo provided by the U.S. Army, Sgt. Thomas C. Ray in this undated photo. Ray, 40, a North Carolina National Guardsman and Navy Veteran was killed over the weekend when a roadside bomb struck his vehicle near Baghdad, Iraq, authorities said.
Ray developed a love for military service early in life, having joined the Navy in 1985 after begging his mother to sign an early enlistment waiver. He was a medical specialist and served three years active duty.
Despite being assigned to the 105th Military Police Battalion in Asheville, Ray had volunteered to go with the Rocky Mount-based 1132nd MP company when it mobilized in June.
“He wanted to save lives and bring back the younger guys,” his wife, Linda Ray, said in a statement provided by the National Guard