Albert R. Brownfield Jr.
Biography: Albert Ray Brownfield Jr., known as "Ray" or "Brownie", was born on March 29, 1915, six miles from the nearest town in Terry County, Texas. He was delivered by a midwife who arrived in a horse and buggy at the ranch house. He was the son of Albert Ray and Allie Dee Brownfield. When he was nine, the family moved to the town of Brownfield, TX, where he attended public schools. He completed high school and junior college at the New Mexico Military Institute. He entered the U.S. Military Academy in 1935 as, then freshman, Congressman George Mahon's first West Point appointment.
Service Time: Ray graduated in 1939 and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant, Field Artillery, in the U.S. Army. With the United States' entry into the Second World War, then Captain Brownfield was assigned to the newly formed 811th Tank Destroyer Battalion. He became its commanding officer in 1943, led it to Europe in 1944 and across France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany and Austria from September 1944 to May 1945. The 811th held the southern hinge of the U.S. Army during the Battle of the Bulge, mounted the only two major counter-attacks in the first day of fighting, held its position during eight days of continuous German attacks, destroyed an estimated 100 German tanks, and on December 26, held the left flank of the U.S. armored column that broke through to, and relieved, the 101st Airborne Division in Bastogne. The 811th spearheaded two attacks that penetrated the German Siegfried Line, liberated a POW and a concentration camp in Germany and accepted the surrender of a German field army at the end of the war. Under his command, the 811th was awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation for its war service. Ray himself earned the Silver Star for Gallantry in Action at Mullerthal, Luxembourg, on Dec. 17, 1944, and the Soldiers Medal for Heroism at Laakirchen, Austria, on May 12, 1945.
Following the war, Ray Brownfield commanded units in Japan, Alaska, and North Carolina. He was promoted to Brig. General in 1966 and served more than two years in the Vietnam War as Chief of Operations, Military Assistance Command, Viet Nam, and later Assistant Division Commander of the 4th Infantry Division. He retired in 1969 as Deputy Inspector General of the U.S. Army and at the rank of Brigadier General.
Following retirement, he served as Chief of Staff (CEO) and later Commander in Chief of the Military Order of the World Wars, a national veterans organization.
He had married the former Virginia Edgerly Goodwin in 1939, and over the next 15 years they had four children, Barbara, Ray III, Bill and Betsy. In 1972, his wife Virginia died and in 1974, he married Naomi "Cissy" Campbell Amick and returned to his native Terry County, Texas. There, for the next 30 years, he ran the Red Onion Farm that his father and grandfather had run before him. He played a prominent role in his community, supported local veterans and was active in the Texas Masons. There is a statue dedicated to him in the City of Brownfield's memorial park. Ray passed away on Dec. 13, 2009, in Liberty, Missouri. At the time of his death, he left behind his wife, Cissy, his children mentioned earlier, his stepchildren, Lon, Alice, Anne, Eugene, John, ten grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on February 24, 2010.