May 21, 2015
During the long Labor Day weekend, my wife and I traveled to the Soldiers’ Angels Headquarters in San Antonio, Texas. We attended a Milblog conference where we had the opportunity to discuss many topics from the care of our Wounded Warriors to the opportunities for Veteran employment in this time of limited job availability. It was during this conference that we had the chance to meet Navy Veteran, and the lead singer of Madison Rising, Dave Bray.
The son of a Sailor, Dave Bray was born in England outside of Menwith Hill Station. Soon thereafter, he and his family transferred to Ft. Meade, Maryland where the family took up homestead in Southern Pennsylvania. His father’s service to his country was a great example to both Dave and his brother.
Dave’s older brother was the first to enlist. He followed his brother as soon as he could – entering the Delayed Entry Program (DEP) at 17. Dave, always the achiever, he saw an opportunity to get ahead and referred three of his peers who also enlisted – earning him the pay-grade of E-3 before he even got on the bus to go to Recruit Training Command.
While in boot-camp, Dave was selected to the position of RCPO (Recruit Chief Petty Officer).
After boot-camp, Dave graduated from Naval Hospital Corps school, and became a Navy Corpsman. At his first duty station, the Charleston Naval Hospital, he served as an EMT/Crew Chief. Next, he attended Field Medical Service School where he earned and was awarded the coveted ‘Top Dog’ award. After graduation, he reported to Camp Lejeune and was assigned to 2nd battalion/ 2nd Marines (STA) Surveillance and Target Acquisition Platoon. Urban Sniper/ Reconnaissance and surveillance school, 18D live tissue training, and countless hours of field training ensued before ultimately being stationed with the 2/2 aboard the USS Guam (LPH-9).
As an HM-8404 (FMF) stationed aboard the Guam, he had the opportunity to serve in Africa where his unit provided perimeter security for the United States Embassy of Monrovia, Liberia during different stages of civil unrest within the country. They also provided safe transport and medical aid to countless refugees from the same area to different locations on the continent.
His desire to help others never left him. As I mentioned, I met him while he and his band were packing care packages for Soldiers’ Angels that are bound for Servicemembers who are deployed around the globe. In conversation he told me, “My family and I will forever be indebted to the Navy/Marine Corps Team for instilling many of the values and standards that I still hold onto today.”
An impressive man; a true American spirit.
Now, as I mentioned in the beginning, he is the lead singer of the band, Madison Rising. I predict this band will be famous, yea, world wide famous, they are that good. Here is Madison Rising’s rendition of the Star Spangled Banner; once you hear it, you will believe as I do. So turn it up, hit the play button, and be prepared to get blown away!