Two Original Buffalo Soldiers of the 92nd and 93rd Infantry Divisions


Mr.William Earnest Ray Sr.

Born on May 9, 1923 to Mr. & Mrs. William Ray in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He is the oldest of seven children. Mr.Ray attended grade school at Beaver Creek School of Fayetteville, North Carolina, and completed his education at E.E. Smith High School which then was located in the Old Washington Building.He went to Beaver Creek A.M.E. Church, which is now known as Simon Temple A.M.E. Zion. He confessed to Christ at the age of 12 years old. Mr. Ray was united in holy matrimony on June 30, 1946 to Sarah Elizabeth Ropes through this divine union God blessed them with six children. Mr.Ray is now married to his best friend and lovely wife Mrs.Joyce Ray, they have graciously been blessed with three daughters. He has 15 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

Mr.Ray entered the service on February 23, 1943, and completed his basic training at Camp Walters, Texas, after basic training he was stationed at Fort Huchaca, Arizona with the 370 Infantry 30 Caliber Machine Gun Squad 92nd Division Buffalo Soldier. His other military experiences include Military Police Station at Sweet Port, Louisiana, from there he was sent to Italy and later assigned to France. In 1946 when the war ended he returned to the United States and received his honorable discharge on March 7, 1946. His military employment was from 1943 to 1946.

On March 23,1946, Mr. Ray was hired as a supervisor for the Quarter Master Laundry on Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where after 37 years he retired on September 30, 1979. He then went to work for the Cumberland County Schools from 1981 - 1988. He is currently employed by the Cumberland County Sheriff Department Crossing Guards, where the children call him "Papa" and everyone loves him.

Mr.Ray has served on numerous boards such as, Leaders of Leaders, Ministry of Kindness, Treasurer steward Board, Male Choir, Chancel choir. He has also been the President of Seniors & Junior Ushers for over 37 years. He has been serving as a delegate for the Central North Carolina Conference for over 25 years. Mr.Ray now serves proudly as class leader for class #15 church steward. He now oversees the usher board with the leadership of Brother Eugene Love.


Rev. Thurman S. Rhodes

Mr.Thurman S. Rhodes entered the US Army on August 11, 1941 at Fort Meade, Maryland. He completed basic training at Camp Croft, South Carolina. He was assigned to the 366 Infantry all black unit in November,1941. His commander was Col. Howard D. Queen, second in command was Lt. Col. Ferguson. He completed special training at Camp Atterbury, Ind., and A.P. Hill, Va., and he departed from Patrick Henry, Va. Hampton Roads, where he was assigned to Casablanca, Africa. He was ordered into combat in Italy on Thanksgiving Day 1944 with the 92nd Division of the Buffalo Soldier, where he served until the end of World War II.

Upon returning home Mr. Rhodes went into the retail grocery business. He later went to work for Social Security. Mr. Rhodes went back to school and earned a degree in Theology after he received his call to minister. Mr. Rhodes retired from Social Security and moved back to North Carolina where he served three churches as Pastor before he retired.




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