TAPS – LTC Raymond Rau

LTC Raymond Rau passed away 12 April 2015.

Charlie Corneilson representing Detachment-A, was present at the Interment of LTC Rau which was held at Arlington National Cemetery on 13 August 2015.   Here is what he wrote:

Just back from the LTC Rau service at Arlington.  His gravesite provides a good view of DC across the Potomac.

LTC Rau rated a horse drawn caisson with two riders and at least one outrider (I had to follow the procession in my vehicle so my view of the caisson procession was marginal/heavily blocked), a firing detail, a flag detail, a general escort platoon (minus) and a platoon (minus) sized band…all in all somewhere in the amount of sixty or so troops from the 3rd ID.  The 3rd ID element was commanded by a CPT with several subordinate officers and senior NCOs assisting.

I tried to speak with the attending Chaplain to get the verses he read, but I was unsuccessful as he departed immediately for another service (sorry). He delivered a very convincing homily that touched on the voluntary service given by LTC Rau that was exceptionally above what is to be expected from most men and how LTC Rau had more than earned the right to be at Arlington.

The band played a hymn (unrecognized, but familiar to me) at the casket caisson transfer ceremony and ‘America The Beautiful’ at the actual graveside ceremony.  The bugler that played ‘Taps’ performed it in the most cleanly dignified and spine-tingling manner I have ever heard (I have performed this myself once in an emergency in years past…this Bugler was an outstanding musician with the proper military soul for the moment).  The flag detail performed all actions with unforced dignity…with purpose, but slowly…appearing almost reluctant to remove the flag from the casket and LTC Rau (with none of the BS snap/flash/’disco slides’ that had been previously observed in recent years).

I can not stress enough how respectfully and dignified this was all collectively performed. I have been to a number of Arlington ceremonies over the last few years and though all have been professional and dignified, there was nothing perfunctory about this ceremony like some have ‘almost’ seemed to be.

Clearly this was a ceremony of demonstrated honor that we can all be proud of one ours receiving.

Weather could not have been nicer…sunny, very light breeze, temp in the upper 70’s and most rare of all for this time of year for DC…no humidity.

I spoke with Mrs. Rau at the following reception held at the Fort Meyer Officers Club, identifying myself as an unofficial Det A rep.  She really brightened at that and spoke at some length as to how much LTC Rau enjoyed that assignment and that he had continued to talk about the Det guys years after he left the unit.  She sends her regards to the Det members and wishes you to convey that to all.

To the best of my knowledge, I was the only Det guy present.

One other SF guy was there (readily identified by the SF unit crest lapel pins which we both wore).  He and LTC Rau were in the same ROTC class in college and were subsequently Ranger School buddies and ongoing, lifelong friends.  I did not get his name fully but it was something like STOL IC or SKOLIC (sorry, too much background noise for my oversized but now bad ears and I had no opportunity to try and get it/write in down accurately).  He was an officer and said that he entered SF in ’62, starting out in Panama. He was with B-52 in ’66…got there just as Beckwith was leaving. He also mentioned at some point in time having had an “A” camp about 25 klicks southwest of Danang (dates and exact camp UNK). He also worked at the schoolhouse at Bragg/MacKall (ran air ops training). He said he spent about nine years total in SF between the 5th, 7th, 8th, and Bragg schoolhouse. Still a formidable, hard, and very in-shape looking guy (I hope I look half that good in 15-20 years).  He was visiting LTC Rau up to the very end. He drove up from San Antonio just for the Arlington service (that says a lot right there!).

As best as I can tell, we where the only SF reps present.  Most everyone else was clearly a retired aviator, though there were several young serving officers of various Army branches present (LTs and CPTs)…family and family friends.  One other guy of note…a former Infantry Platoon Leader, Company Commander and (I think also) Bn S-3 from the 173rd (Nam era) with extensive Ranger assignments that served somewhere/sometime with LTC Rau in Vietnam and became a subsequent life long family friend.

I did not start out to write a spot report, but I did wish to convey a bit of the ceremony and my writing got away from me. So be it…it is what I experienced today.

This was the absolute best military ceremony I have witnessed at Arlington or anywhere else, hands down (to very much include the funeral details I personally organized and ran for my SFA 65 stay-behinds at Tolz when I was last in 1-10 at Stuttgart).

Though I never served directly with LTC Rau, it was very much my pleasure and honor to represent my former team-mates and the many others that did.


COL Raymond Rau, former Commander of Detachment(A) Berlin period 1976, passed away on 12 April 2015. Ray had a distinguished military career as a US Army Officer.  Decorations include the Distinguished Service Cross and the Distinguished Flying Cross.  Funeral services were held on 19 April 2015 in Woodland, Texas.

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