Ray Westberg

Westberg, a Vietnam veteran and a high school wrestling coach from Ellensburg, Washington, was recruited to write for the Reader by editor Judith Moore, who had lived in Ellensburg as a young housewife.

Among his more remarkable stories: Rebels without an Engine (bicyclists vs. cars) | Did You Fight in the War? Yeah. (Vietnam revisited) | Tarawa (WWII veterans talk)

Westberg died from a heart attack while teaching his high school English class in 1997.

Articles by Ray Westberg

They went from MCRD to Vietnam – Khe Sanh, Con Thien, Dewey Canyon – and finally San Diego

I don't ever tell death how not to take me

A lot of them — the kids, I mean — went to boot camp, came out of boot camp, got on an airplane to Vietnam, and went straight to the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone). One such ...

An unhampered look at Carlsbad's Army Navy Academy

G'Bye mom, So long Dad, Where are the girls? West Point of the West

Societies have often tried to whip their young into adulthood with calculated brutality. Yet even this, intolerable as it is, probably causes less pain — and may even give rise to less brutality in the ...

From San Diego to Vietnam the second time

Did you fight in the war? "Yeah."

There is no more vile, despicable thing in nature than the man who runs from his demons. — Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad Some people wear everything on their sleeves, they’d run naked through a ...

San Diego medical examiners examine the grossness of dead bodies

Doctors after the fact

Boyer’s and Bailey’s bodies lay quiet in the sun; time hadn’t passed for muscles to stiffen, and limbs were still limp. Bailey — six or seven holes in his neck and torso — had gurgled ...

San Diego recruit fought in bloodiest 76 hours of World War II – Tarawa

From Camp Elliot near I-15 they were shipping out to the South Pacific

"What I saw ... was, I am certain, one of the greatest works of devastation wrought by man. Words are not adequate to describe what I saw on this island of less than a square ...

Fight a bad rep at Morse High School


“One of our students, a tenth-grade boy, committed suicide right after New Year’s. On that first Friday back, a 15-year-old boy collapsed on the P.E. field — an aneurysm or stroke — and lost his breathing capacity.”

Breakdown in trust between San Diego motorists and bicyclists

Rebels without an engine

Standing on Pringle Street near Kettner Boulevard, looking up a precipitous grade of snaking asphalt, I tried to imagine Freddie Hafner's thoughts - aged 41 — one second before his death. Dressed in purple mesh ...

Reader write about first day of school

La Mesa, East San Diego, Minneapolis, Logan Heights

Mr. Van Winkle asked the Student Council Reps, to indicate to the classes that if they can convince him through sound logical arguments that they should ride skateboards to school that he will reconsider his position.

San Diego Marine reservists tell Kuwait stories

To Hell and back with the weekend warriors

The Naval and Marine Corps Reserve Center on Pomerado Road is a large cube of brick. Inside, Marines and sailors hustle and bustle, and the atmosphere is casual. A young woman Marine takes me to ...