Ray Wood Pickering was from Parkersburg, Wood County, West Virginia. He entered the armed forces from the State of Colorado. Ray was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant and was sent to the Philippines to serve with Company B, 1st Battalion, of the 4th Marines.
Ray served with dignity in the Philippines, but he was captured as a prisoner of war when the islands fell into enemy hands in 1942 and the remaining troops were forced to surrender. Ray was held as a prisoner of war in the Philippines for two years. While being transported to Japan on the Arisan Maru, Ray lost his life on October 24, 1944 when the unmarked ship was torpedoed by an Allied submarine in the South China Sea. His death was received by the War Department on June 16, 1945.
Ray was awarded the Purple Heart and his body was buried at sea. In recognition of his honorable service in World War II, and for his ultimate sacrifice, Ray Wood Pickering's name is inscribed on the Tablets of the Missing at the Manila American Cemetery in Manila, Philippines, and Ray's was one of the original names inscribed on the West Virginia Veterans Memorial.
Hellships of World War II
West Virginia Veterans Memorial Archives Database
West Virginia Archives and History