Ambassador Charles A. Ray is a retired Foreign Service Officer who served 30 years in the US Foreign Service, and before that, 20 years in the US Army. During his army service, including two tours in Vietnam, he served in Military Intelligence, Special Operations, and Public Affairs, with tours of duty in Germany, Korea, Vietnam, and Panama, as well as posts throughout the U.S., and retired in 1982 with the rank of Major.
During 30 years in the Foreign Service, he was posted to China, Thailand, Sierra Leone, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Zimbabwe. His overseas assignments included service as Deputy Chief of Mission in Sierra Leone during that country’s transition to democratic rule, he was the first US Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and was ambassador to Cambodia and Zimbabwe. From 2006 to 2009, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for POW/Missing Personnel Affairs and Director of the Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office.
Since retirement from public service, he has been a full time freelance writer and consultant, and is the author of more than 50 books of fiction and non-fiction, including three books on leadership. He is a frequent blogger and contributor to several Internet news and content sites. Ray is also a photographer and artist, and has worked as a journalist and artist for a number of publications in the US and abroad. During the late 70s he was editorial cartoonist for the Spring Lake (NC) News, a weekly newspaper near Fort Bragg, NC. He was the first chairman of the American Foreign Service Association’s Professionalism and Ethics Committee. He runs a workshop on professional writing for Rangel Scholars at Howard University each summer, and is a lecturer at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute of Johns Hopkins University, speaking on global hotspots and the History of American Diplomacy. He has also done consulting work for the Department of Defense on personnel recovery (working with the Angel Thunder PR exercise) and as an interagency subject matter expert during army unit pre-deployment training.
Ray is a member of the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA), the Association of Black American Ambassadors, and the American Academy of Diplomacy. A native of Texas, Ray now makes his home in North Potomac, MD, a suburb of Washington, DC.
Ambassador Ray was invited to participate on the ISSTA Board and he is voluntarily serving as Board Chair and Chairperson of the Committee on Governmental Relations, and Community & Partnerships.