" A more somber story follows of one of our classmates, Charles Ray. He became one of the first victims of Palestinian Terrorism on January 18 1982, 34 years ago today, when he was assassinated in Paris while serving as a military attaché. The bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon would happen the following year. I believe he only spent the 7th and 8th grades with us. I remember listening to the radio, probably on January 19th, 1982, when they were recounting the story of Charles. I said, "surely, this could not be our Charles Ray". It seems like such a common name but unfortunately it was."
Ray was born in New York City on September 14, 1938. He was commissioned in the U.S. Army in 1960. Ray had been stationed in Paris as the Assistant Army Attaché for 18 months. He was a distinguished military intelligence officer, a decorated Vietnam veteran, and on his first assignment as a military attaché. He was married and had two children. Prior to this assignment he resided in Northern Virginia. He was an active parishioner at St. Bernadette's Roman Catholic Church in Springfield, VA, and was responsible for coordinating the altar servers.
A state funeral was held for Lieutenant Colonel Ray at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, where he and his family had attended Mass since they first arrived in Paris in 1980. Following the Mass, Ray's body was flown back to the U.S. for a service at St. Bernadette's. Ray was interred at Arlington National Cemetery.
President Ronald Reagan promoted Ray to Colonel posthumously on 3 June 1982. The President approved the promotion and met with Ray's wife during a visit to Paris in June 1982.
U.S. President Ronald Reagan issued the following statement on the death of Colonel Ray:
"Lieutenant Colonel Charles R. Ray, our Assistant Army Attaché in Paris, was a distinguished career officer. He gave his life in the line of duty as surely as if he had fallen in battle. Our hearts go out to his family in their bereavement, and the wanton act of his murderers reinforces our determination to stamp out international terrorism and prevent similar tragedies in the future."
Abdallah (aka Salih al-Masri and Abdu-Qadir Saadi) was captured in 1984 and was sentenced to life in prison in 1987 for his involvement in the murder. He was released in 2013 and deported to Lebanon..