Biography: Raymond Frazee, “Ray”, was born on September 17, 1921, in Sioux City, Iowa. He was one of sixteen children born to Harry Frazee and Eva Brinkinhoffer and attended local schools through the 8th grade.
While only 17 years of age, Ray found work with the CCC (Civilian Conservations Corps) and was assigned to projects near Rapid City, South Dakota. It was during his time with the CCC that he received training in the operation of heavy equipment. It was this training that he believed helped him while in the military.
Service Time: Ray entered the service in 1942, from South Dakota, and after his basic training, was ultimately assigned to the 814th Tank Destroyer battalion.
The 814th received training at a number of military facilities including Camp Bowie, Texas. In March of 1943, they moved to Camp Hood, also in Texas, followed by Camp Polk for the Louisiana Maneuvers. On August 14, while on leave, Ray traveled to Dakota City, Nebraska, where he married the former Lorraine Delores Edwards, who was born in South Dakota and was the daughter of Glen Edwards and Luella Hoffman. Ray met Lorraine through her older brother Glen.
After a brief stay at Camp Miles Standish, Massachusetts, the unit moved to Fort Devens, MA. On February 14, 1944, they were loaded on a train to Halifax, Nova Scotia, boarding the Ile de France the next day. They arrived at Greenock, Scotland on the 22nd.
The 814th boarded transports and landed at Utah Beach, beginning on August 8th, equipped with M10 tank destroyers. They raced across France that same month and participated in the fighting around Metz in September. They then moved to the Peel Marshes, in Holland, at the end of the month. They began re-equipping with M36 tank destroyers in October and supported Ninth Army’s drive toward the Roer River in November.
Transferring with the 7th Armored Division to the Ardennes on December 17th, they participated in the defense of St. Vith, Belgium. The 814th supported operations against the West Wall in February, 1945, and crossed the Rhine River at Remagen on March 23rd. They helped reduce the Ruhr Pocket in April and drove east to the Elbe River, crossing and then reaching the Baltic coast on May 3rd.
The 814th received credit for campaigns in Northern France, Rhineland, the Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe. Ray was awarded the Bronze Star for heroic service in connection with military operations against the enemy while in Holland on October 27th and 28th of 1944.
A certificate for Captured Enemy Equipment Ray brought home from the war is signed by an officer, 1st Lt. Stanley M. Kardash, of B Company, 644th Tank Destroyer Battalion. We cannot be sure but Ray may have been assigned to the 644th after the war, serving with them briefly during occupational duty. He left the service at the rank of Private First Class.
Ray returned home, initially to Sioux City, but later make his home in Worthington, Minnesota and work for the Armour Company, which was a leader in the meat packing industry. He remained with the company until he retired. Ray and Lorraine would have four children, Sherry, Ed, Beverly and Raymond Jr.
In his spare time, Ray enjoyed the outdoors and was an avid fisherman. In addition to being a member of the Minnesota Southwest Fishing Club, he was also a life-member of the VFW and an avid Minnesota Twins and Vikings fan. Ray passed away on September 11, 2006, and was buried in the Worthington Cemetery in Worthington, MN. At the time of his death, he and Lorraine had been married 63 years.
I want to thank Ray’s son, Raymond Jr., for providing the information and photos of his father for this tribute. Thank you also to Find A Grave contributor, AEPDLP, for the use of the grave marker image.