Ambassador Charles A. Ray was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/Missing Personnel Affairs in September 2006. Ambassador Ray is responsible to the Secretary of Defense for policy, control and oversight of all matters pertaining to missing personnel, and for establishing uniform policies and procedures leading to the fullest possible accounting of Americans missing in action from all conflicts. This mission includes the rescue of individuals who fall in harm’s way as a result of combat.
Ambassador Ray was confirmed by the White House in 2002 and sworn-in by former Secretary of State Colin Powell as the United States Ambassador to the Kingdom of Cambodia, where he served until 2005. More recently he has served as diplomat in residence at the University of Houston. While there, he recruited students interested in careers in the U.S. Foreign Service or the State Department, and he worked with secondary school systems, civic organizations and other groups to inform communities about foreign service.
Ambassador Ray joined the Department of State in 1982 and held several positions such as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Freetown, Sierra Leone. He also served in the Department of State Political Military Affairs Bureau, and worked in the U.S. Consulate General Offices in Guangzhou and Shenyang, China. In 1998 he became the first U.S. Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. During his 20-plus year career in the Department of State, Ambassador Ray worked with kings, presidents, soldiers and human rights activists on a variety of issues.
Prior to entering the Department of State, Ambassador Ray served in the United States Army for twenty years. He retired with the rank of Major in 1982. He received two Bronze Star medals from the Army and the Armed Forces Humanitarian Service Award.
Ambassador Ray obtained his undergraduate degree at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, and received his Masters of Science degree at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. He also received his Masters of Science degree from the National Defense University in Washington D.C.