WWII Veteran Joseph Raymond Goulet, D-Day War Hero, Dies at 99 on Independence Day

by Clayton Edwards

These days, there aren’t many World War II veterans left. On Independence Day, we lost one more member of the Greatest Generation. However, Joseph Raymond “Ray” Goulet – “Red” to some – wasn’t just a veteran. He was a genuine war hero. Today, we look back on the life of a true patriot.

Ray Goulet at a Glance

  • Ray Goulet was part of the D-Day Invasion
  • Goulet hauled supplies to the front lines to keep our troops moving
  • He was a pillar of the community in Portsmouth, New Hampshire  
  • Goulet continued supporting our troops until the end

Ray Goulet Was There on D-Day

Goulet enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War II. He wanted to do all he could to serve his country. He brought with him an affinity for math and superior organizational skills. Those innate abilities combined with his initial training led him to what was then called the Army Service Forces, according to his obituary. Today, it is called the Army Quartermaster Corps.

After finishing his training here in the States, Ray Goulet left for England to train with American and other Allied troops for the invasion of Europe. While there, Army planners discovered that Goulet could speak, read, and write French fluently.  As a result, he was added to the 1st Infantry Division. He would help his Division’s leadership connect with French leadership in order to open routes to inland objectives. However, Allied troops moved forward so swiftly that his language skills were never required.

On D-Day, June 6th, 1944, Ray Goulet landed with the 1st Infantry Division in the first wave of the Allied assault on Omaha Beach in Normandy. After Allied troops secured the beaches, Ray went back to the Army Service Forces but tried constantly to return to the infantry. Fortunately, the war didn’t last long enough for Goulet to transfer.

Goulet Helped to Shorten the War

After returning to the Army Service Forces, Ray Goulet put his affinity for math and organizational skills to work. He headed up a mobile Post Exchange program and earned the rank of Tech Sergeant.

The Allied troops were moving quickly across Europe and into Germany. They moved so quickly that it would have been impossible to keep them supplied by conventional means. As a result, Ray Goulet’s Mobile Post Exchange kept the troops supplied and on the move. The Red Ball Express, as it came to be known, delivered trucks packed with ammunition, fuel, and other urgently-needed supplies to the front lines. Goulet was behind the wheel of many of those trucks. Ray and those who served under him braved rough terrain, bad weather, and Axis troops to get the job done.

According to his obituary, the Red Ball Express ran non-stop truck convoys. Their tireless work helped the Allied Forces keep Axis troops on the move, never letting them rest or recover. As a result, it is believed that they greatly reduced the number of Allied casualties and helped to shorten the war in Europe.

Ray Goulet: A Pillar of His Community

Residents of Portsmouth, New Hampshire knew and respected Ray Goulet. In his free time, he enjoyed taking walks in the local park. On Wednesdays, he walked with the local police. Additionally, Ray enjoyed reading, especially the daily newspaper and books about history.

Goulet supported law enforcement, first responders, and the U.S. military until the very end. He was a member of the Pease Greeters. The group greeted and encouraged troops who were deploying or coming home from deployment at Pease International Airport.

In the end, Ray Goulet was more than a WWII veteran, more than a war hero. Ray was an example of a true patriot.