Colonel Raymond T. “Ray” Nutter was born in Georgetown, KY, attended Nicholasville High School, and was a star football player at Western Kentucky University, graduating in 1953. In college, he met and married his wife, Bobbie Jean Atwood. They had two children, Gina and Mike.
After graduation from WKU, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army and graduated from flight school in 1959. During his distinguished Army career, Colonel Nutter served as a Senior Aviator, Helicopter Pilot, Gunship Pilot, Master Parachutist, Battalion Commander, and senior advisor to the Kentucky National Guard.
Ray was known as a tough soldier, an outstanding leader and an all-around good man. According to one of the men who served under his command, “he was always loyal to his troops, he always stuck up for us, even when we didn’t deserve it.”
After his service in the Army, he and his family settled in Bowling Green, KY where he was active in construction and property management. He was a member and former president of the “W” Club at WKU and was a long-time member of the Bowling Green Rotary Club.
Colonel Nutter was one of the most highly decorated soldiers of the Vietnam War. His awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Cross (second only to the Medal of Honor), the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Soldiers Medal, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal and the Air Medal.
The following is an excerpt from the citation awarding him the Distinguished Service Cross:
The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Major (Infantry) Raymond T. Nutter (ASN: 0-79407), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with 121st Assault Helicopter Company, 13th Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Brigade. Major Nutter distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 18 October 1966 while serving as platoon leader of an armed helicopter team supporting combat operations near Vi Thanh. Major Nutter led his aircraft in strikes at heavily fortified Viet Cong positions that were threatening a small friendly force. When two evacuation helicopters were forced to abandon attempts to reach the ground unit because of intense fire, Major Nutter decided to fly in for the pickup himself. As he brought his helicopter down, it was hit by a burst of fire which riddled the cabin, shot away the controls, and killed the other pilot. In the crash, Major Nutter suffered a large gash in his leg, but led the two crew members out of the aircraft and deeper into the swamp as the Viet Cong closed in on the wreckage. With the hope of escaping to friendly territory, they decided to move stealthily through the enemy positions, which were not under air and artillery assault. Hampered by his injury and beset by leeches and mosquitoes, he hacked his way through the swamp growths with a knife. On two occasions, when an armed insurgent attacked them, Major Nutter killed them with his knife. Suffering from cold, mosquitoes, and the pain of his wounds, and endangered by artillery fire all night, Major Nutter hid until morning in a rice paddy. Early the next day, he made contact with a friendly Vietnamese force. Major Nutter’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
GOD SPEED, RAY NUTTER. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE.