Hon disch. and retirement in grade for Green Beret colonel involved in armed standoff with police

| August 13, 2021

COL Owen Ray

Jeff LPH 3 sends an update on a story we covered a while back. You might remember Colonel Ray here. He’s the Green Beret colonel, former commanding officer of the 1st Special Forces Group, who was involved in an armed standoff with police back in December of last year. During that incident you’ll recall;

Col. Owen G. Ray, 47, and his wife got into an argument earlier in the evening, according to a probable cause affidavit. Believing her husband was intoxicated, the wife retreated to her children’s bedroom to hide.

She then heard Ray say, “let’s do this,” before he went to the garage where the guns were stored, Pierce County prosecutors wrote in the affidavit. The house is in the town of DuPont, about 10 miles southwest of the base where Ray serves as the Army’s I Corps chief of staff and previously commanded a Special Forces group.

Ray, now armed, went back into the house and found his wife, who proceeded to call the police, “at which point, the defendant became enraged.”

“He pointed the gun at [the wife] and threatened to kill her,” the affidavit reads. “He proceeded to kick [her] over and over with his boots in the face and chest. The two children had woken up and were screaming, ‘don’t kill mom, don’t shoot us.’”

Ray left the room but returned after his wife had tried to barricade the entrance with a bookshelf, the affidavit stated. He smashed the barricade down and waved a gun while yelling threats.

Washington State Patrol and a mix of local police units arrived sometime after midnight. Ray eventually allowed his wife and two of the children to exit at around 12:33 a.m. His teenage daughter followed them out shortly afterward.

Police were able to contact Ray via phone at 12:49 a.m., and he threatened to take his own life as well as anyone who tried to arrest him.

“The defendant outlined his extensive training in combat,” the affidavit reads. “He told law enforcement he was a 25-year veteran and spent most of his time in the 1st group special forces. He stated that he had killed a lot of people and he had no problem killing law enforcement if they made attempts to arrest him. The defendant was calm, coherent, and articulate.”

After these initial threats, Ray would alternate between saying he had great respect for law enforcement and warning them not to arrest him, according to the affidavit. During the two-hour standoff, police said they saw Ray on the balcony holding a pistol to his head and holding a rifle inside the house.

“Active negotiations and de-escalation attempts took place until the suspect eventually surrendered and was safely taken into custody,” DuPont police said in a statement. “This occurred approximately two hours after initial communication was established between the police and the suspect.”

Colonel Ray is facing charges of assault and kidnapping. While that’s going on, the Army has reviewed his case and decided that he can retire with full rank, privileges, and an honorable discharge.

Army Times reports;

The memo documenting Col. Owen G. Ray’s discharge status was included among court records filed with the Pierce County Superior Court in Washington state, near his duty station of Joint Base Lewis McChord.

“The Army Grade Determination Review Board has reviewed the Retirement in Lieu of Elimination, based on misconduct and moral or professional dereliction,” reads the memo signed by Michael T. Mahoney, a deputy assistant secretary of the Army. “I approve his Retirement in Lieu of Elimination, and he will be placed on the Retired List in his current grade of 0-6 (Colonel).”

The 47-year-old Ray will be allowed to retire Sept. 30 with a separation code of “RNC,” meaning “unacceptable conduct,” though his characterization of service will be noted as “honorable.”

Ray’s defense attorney, Jared E. Ausserer, confirmed the criminal case is set for trial in mid-September. Prosecutors are arguing that Ray should be sentenced to seven years in prison, which Ausserer said is excessive.

“[Prosecutors] have been unwilling to acknowledge that the PTSD components of Col. Ray’s service have any impact on this case whatsoever, and they’re treating him very differently than a civilian,” Ausserer said. “I have multiple clients who are charged with very similar conduct who are getting misdemeanors.”

Ausserer stressed that Ray served several decades with no history of similar actions, adding that the military’s decision to honorably discharge his client reflects that. Army officials did not respond to requests for comment prior to this article’s deadline.

Ray was suspended from his last Army assignment as the chief of staff for I Corps after he was arrested and charged by Pierce County prosecutors with two counts of felony harassment, one count of kidnapping, two counts of assault and one count of reckless endangerment.

Of course he’s claiming the PTSofD.

Category: Army, Big Army, Big Pentagon, Crime, Dick Stepping, Dumbass Bullshit

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And if this happened to a Enlisted person? Probably would have been hammered like dog shit and given the electric chair

Different spanks for different ranks…


If it was a Joe, he would have been allowed to rot in jail for several months with their duty status listed as “in civilian confinement”, no pay, and the chain of command would have ignored the wife’s pleas for help, including the 1SG hanging up on her after telling her it’s her own fault, until she called the CGs office. Not that I ever watched something like that happen.

Prior Service

I’m curious what both of you think the army should have done with a Soldier (regardless of rank) with a 25 year high performing career with a major %}**# up at the end of it? Get the hammer or get leniency?

USMC Steve

Unless he is locked up in the nut ward in
a straight jacket, DD and bust the motherfucker to Pvt. What the law outside the military does to him, don’t care.

That is why it is called the UNIFORM Code of Military Justice. one awshit erases all previous attaboys. Fucking officers almost always get this sort of treatment. That is why most enlisted swine hate most officers.

A Proud Infidel®™

Ament to that, I remember reading the Court Martial Results in the “Indianhead”, the 2ID Newspaper which always posted the CM outcomes for those who got caught Black Marketing. The least punishment for Enlisted was a 1SG who got reduced to E1, three years of Confinement and a DD while THE least was an Air Farce Captain who got a Dismissal and two years.

A Proud Infidel®™

Sounds like Business as usual!

USMCVet (ret)

Proud Infidel, the punishments you listed are almost identical for the 1stSgt and the Captain and could be the result of what they were black marketeering. I believe that there is a disparity of the way the UCMJ hands out punishment for officers and enlisted but your example is counter to your belief and mine. Dishonorable Discharges and BCDs are not an option for Officers. Dismissal is the equivalent to either a BCD or DD for any officer. DDs and BCDs cannot be given to an officer.


It’s not what I think should happen, it’s what Big Army reflexively does in these situations. Like Steve below pointed out, O’s get the velvet glove, Joes get the pipe to the knee, and that aint ever going to change.


Yes ^^^^

Slow Joe

Your leniency will only guarantee that at some point down the line another officer will think it is ok to beat up his wife and kids because he is Special.

Drop the hammer.


Either the rules apply to everyone or they apply to no one.

And this isn’t a f(*k up. This is clear criminal activity that required some level of forethought. And it definitely isn’t a symptom of PTSD.

A f*&k up would be getting a DUI. Holding your wife hostage and having an armed standoff with police isn’t something the military should ever excuse.

The COL should be hammered flat.


I would prefer the civilian equivalent.

Assume for a moment that the guy was high level supervisor who did this.

1) He would likely keep his pension (by law.)

2) He would be fired. (Discharged.)

3) He would not be eligible for rehire. (Dishonorable discharge.)

I would be okay with him keeping his medical benefits from the military because that can hurt his family.

I don’t think a case can me made that at person who did what he did can be said to have maintained military standards and his honorable discharge will further hurt those standards and moral in the military.


The good Colonel should’ve been slammed with the largest administrative hammer the military could wield. We’re talking a hammer that would make Thor envious. Take away everything that could be taken away. I’d recommend the same thing for any service member that did this, regardless of rank, sex, gender, sexual identification, religious preference or any other thing you can think up.

Prior Service

Looks like we are all generally in agreement. I will add that as an O, my disciplinary decisions were always informed by my E time, and my final decisions were ALWAYS in accordance with what my NCOs recommended (except i always suspended forfeiture of pay), so if the Joes were getting hammered, it was because of my NCOs’ recommendation. I also sat on many admin sep boards and reversed determinations I disagreed with. I don’t believe in rushing to the hammer and consider every case separately regardless of rank. I actually had guys in my office for UCMJ and when it was clear the CO CDR didn’t know what he was talking about, I ended proceedings, put the Soldiers out, and snatched up the CDR and 1SG.

MI Ranger

The fact that he did not shoot or kill anyone is what has reduced this case. A lot of what the defense will claim will hang on how bad the wife’s injuries were. Was it a “get away from me” kind of kick to the face and chest…or did he demonstrate his proficiency in hand to hand combat and break some ribs and a nose?

What else would he claim? Mind Control? Drugged? Demonic possession?


A “get away from me kick to the face and chest”- seriously? Get away from me is a push, this asshole kicked his wife in the face. Screw his ostensible PTSD etc, he needs to be jailed.


Attempted “suicide by cop”.

Did you not see it? He did everything he could to draw a bullet. No one would have criticized a cop for popping his melon with a well-placed rifle bullet.

He wanted Valhalla, not a cell.


If Col. Ray had intended physical harm, I’m pretty confident that he would have prevailed. At least until the end.

Alcohol is not a remedy and it sounds like this was not the first domestic misadventure for the Colonel.

There is a stigma associated with mental aberration that makes it nearly impossible for many professionals to quietly, privately obtain treatment/therapy/mediation or whatever the proper term may be.

Better that he had gone to bed early. No stigma, quiet, private, and efficacious.


I went through a program with someone who held similar qualifications as COL Ray but outranked him. Without specifics, he realized he had a problem while overseas and decided to put himself over his career. Just looked him up, he never saw another star, but he got the help he needed. He didn’t threaten family and police because he was too proud to use the Army’s behavioral health resources.


So much for retiring at last pay grade held as a (good boy)?

Slow Joe

We all know we cannot do what COL Ray did and survive. Actions have consequences.

COL Ray did that because somewhere in his mind he thought he could get away with it. He was right.

Its exactly the same thought process antifa and BLM go through before rioting, burning and pillaging. They think they can get away with it.

The rule of law is dead.


Big-time kudos to the LEOs. That resolution was patient and ballsy.


Helluva career-ender-story. At least, not the kind of stuff that’s going to make for a very worthy bar-room brag. Think 11B-Mailclerk has got it properly sussed – the real accolades in this story ought go to the LEO’s, who’s courage and patience gave this situation a far less tragic outcome. Interestingly, my Mom used to inasmuch espouse what Tallywhagger said “Don’t try to drink your problems away. There’s no problem that won’t look clearer in the morning after a decent night’s sleep”. Really hope Colonel Ray gets some post-career therapy for his apparent anger and possible alcohol dependency.. At the end of his career, he’s now got a very hard road ahead of him and with him, go my prayers for support and recovery. As for the culpability and consequences of the Colonel’s criminal actions, he’s GOT to take responsibility for those actions or everything Colonel Ray has ever stood for(God, Family and Country), meant absolutely….nothing.

Herbert J Messkit

Must be a secret member of the deep state no consequences for criminal acts

A Proud Infidel®™

I was thinking that he probably has some choice dirt on the right people.


My first thought, too.
Upon careful consideration, that’s still how I read this.


Let’s use this analogy:
SP4 Bubba Scatlin (aka “Dwizzel” to his Commo Platoon colleagues) a “Wire Dog” in a Mech Inf Bn, gets a little rambunctious on a payday weekend. He leaves “Diamond Jim’s”, a favorite watering hole of HHC, and heads back to post a little after 0200am that Saturday morning. A State Trooper clocks “The Dwizz” doing 95 in a 45. “BS” sees blue lights, thinks “fuck’em” and punches it. Ends up in a ditch, and yelling obscenities at the Trooper, who obtains a BAC via breathalyzer than would render a rhino unconscious. I wonder if the Army would say “all is forgiven..now move out smartly and sin no more”.


I’m pretty certain this was taken from the historic annals of the 69th Signal Company, aka “The Dog Pound”, in the late 80’s early 90’s. Everything but the last sentence probably did happen.


except the 69th never was part of a mech INF unit.

Years ago, going downtown and getting in trouble did not necessarily mean the gulag for a young trooper.

Today, your career can be lost for misgendering a donkey dick


You can’t even say “Donkey Dick”. It has been replaced by the less offensive term “Mule Apparatus”.

A Proud Infidel®™

Things like that always ended up in the local Newspaper after Payday Weekend, some local LEOs downrange would have betting pools on who would get the craziest DUI.


hmmmm. Sounds vaguely familiar.


Figure this way the soon to be Ex-wife will get 50-65% of his retired O6 pay as opposed to zero while the Colonel (soon to be know as prisoner #349817) cools his heels in jail for a few years. When he gets out… depends upon how much he liked being inside… we will see. He will likely then shack up at the local flop house and spend the rest of his days in an alcoholic haze ranting about how he used to be somebody important in the Army.

Funny how people make life altering decisions at the drop of a hat like that. No more easy street sucking off the government teat as a contractor.

Mustang Major

A factor in the army’s decision to let Col. Ray retire in grade could be his future pension and reduced amount his ex receives, should they divorce- if not already divorced.

Does anyone know if he had a first wife he also pays? If he had a previous wife qualifying for a piece of his pension, she would have any pension payment whacked also.


Of course, after a few beers at the VFW, his story will turn into this:


Stumbles over to the jukebox, drops in a quarter and pushes F9….”Ballad Of The Green Berets SSG Barry Sadler”