He was there when the twin towers were attacked on September 11, 2011, and he was there, in Afghanistan and Iraq. Now medically retired after a 28-year career as a military reservist and a 22-year veteran of the New York Police Department, he is there for wounded warriors like himself.
Retired Sr. Master Sgt. Ray Schroeder, Carlisle, has served in all four U.S. military Services. It was the Air Force Reserve unit that deployed him in 2002 to take the fight to Afghanistan after having helped New York City recover from the 9/11 attacks. Schroeder was one of the ‘dirt boys’ of Air Force civil engineering responsible for preparing air fields in Afghanistan and, in 2004-5, in Iraq. Head trauma in May 2002 from an improved explosive device hidden under the top soil near him eventually led to his medical retirement.
Schroeder was among the wounded warriors using adaptive bikes on a multi-day Warrior Ride through the central Pennsylvania countryside with a special stop to meet U.S. Congressman Todd Platts at the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, June 17.
You embody what is good about America, and remind us of the sacrifices you have made and the price paid for the freedom we all enjoy,” said Platts. “You are truly the heroes of America.”
Military kids and employees from throughout the installation waved American flags along the route to Root Hall where Soldiers, employees and USAWC students gathered to greet the wounded warriors in front of 50 state flags honoring the Riders who represented a slice of America: South Carolina, Virginia, W. Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and more.
Schroeder’s wife, Anna Maria, served as navigator for the 23 riders whose route included local tourist stops like the Boiling Spring clock tower and the Pa. Capitol in Harrisburg, where Pa. Sen. Pat Vance and Pa. Rep. Scott Perry met them.
Before they started the next, hilly leg of their ride, Carlisle Barracks’ Command Sgt. Major wished them well. “We’re all the same family.”
“A lot of people don’t understand what you are going through, but I understand as I am a wounded warrior myself, said Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Blakey. “I could have retired a couple of years ago, but it is men and women like you motivate me to stay in, so I can continue to be a voice for you.”
Warrior Ride is a nonprofit organization that supports wounded veterans with adaptive bicycles for recreation and rehabilitation.