Donald Ray Wright

1950 - 2004

Vietnam War

Their Story

Donald Ray Wright was born on January 22, 1950, the son of Raymond “Ray” and Annie Pauline Low Wright. His dad was a salesman for a sewing machine manufacturer.1 He had a brother, David. His father died on September 20, 1995.2

In 1968, Wright graduated from Rock Island High School, where he ran track, wrestled, participated in science club, played basketball, and sang in the choir.3 He then enlisted in the U.S. Army on July 22, 1968, and was discharged on April 16, 1970. He served in the 9th Infantry Division, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment.4 Sergeant Wright was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in Vietnam.5

The 9th Infantry Division, in February 1966, became the first division since World War II to be reactivated for deployment to an overseas combat theater. The division arrived in Vietnam in December 1966. Significant successes achieved by the 9th Infantry Division included: victories over Main Force Viet Cong and North Vietnamese units from the Demilitarized Zone to the Mekong Delta, formation of a Mobile Riverine Force, and suppression of the Viet Cong terror campaign during TET 1968.6

After his discharge from the Army, Wright received a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from the University of Illinois. He was a partner in a small cabinet manufacturing business at the time of his death.7

Donald Ray Wright died on April 12, 2004, in Coral Springs, Florida from cancer associated with exposure to Agent Orange. He was survived by his mother, Polly Wright, and a host of friends.8

Agent Orange was an herbicide used by United States military forces during the Vietnam conflict to eliminate forest cover and crops for North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops. Over 20 million gallons of various herbicides were sprayed over Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos from 1961 to 1971. Agent Orange, which contained the deadly chemical dioxin, was the most used herbicide. It was later proven to cause serious health issues, cancer, birth defects, rashes, and severe psychological and neurological problems, among returning U.S. servicemen and their families, and the Vietnamese population.9


1 1950 United States Federal Census –

2 Donald Ray WRIGHT – Facts (

3 U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-2016 –

4 25 May 2004, 21 – Quad-City Times at

5 Donald Ray Wright’s memorial page – Honor Veterans Legacies at VLM (

6 Troops of the 9th Infantry Division – The Mobile Riverine Force Association (

7 Donald Raymond Wright (1950-2004) – Find a Grave Memorial

8 25 May 2004, 21 – Quad-City Times at

9 Agent Orange – HISTORY