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

Best Reader stories from 1995

Prince of Peace Abbey, Perry Mason, Crawdaddy's daddy, Pat Welsh, Asian gangs, Eckankar, SEALS spy for Koch, Kate Sessions, Carlsbad flower fields

I've got Perry Mason on board! In early 1960, the man who created Perry Mason was introduced to an Imperial Beach resident named Francisco Muñoz. Erle Stanley Gardner had many friends, and he particularly liked ...

Best Reader stories from 1993

Mike Doyle, Tarawa, El Centro, Dahmer's Diner, Baja boom towns, Chinese refugees, Dale Akiki, San Diego tomatoes, Balboa Park violence, Mexican fighting bulls, Mother Teresa's TJ, Zeta

In time for the morning glass For a few years back in the '60s, Mike Doyle was the hottest surfer in the world. With an unusual combination of power on big waves and stylistic grace ...

Best Reader stories from 1991

Bicycle deaths, Madame Schumann-Heink, Marshall South, Karen Wilkening, paving of I-15, Helen and David Copley, Luis Urrea's Tijuana

Satan chasers San Diego has many experts in the field of Satanism who say the county is a hotbed of Satanic activity. The hidden canyons of the back country, Ramona, Santee, Escondido, even Oceanside, are ...

Best Reader stories from 1990

Hale telescope, hunting Chinese pandas for Roosevelts, Richard Henry Dana, MCRD, famous San Diegans recite poetry, TJ torture, Jorge Hank, running drugs for Uncle Sam, Lamb's Players, Brute Krulak

The Hale blinks Twilight has ebbed to a fringe of lapis on the western horizon, and the stars spin slowly as the dome of the 200-inch Hale telescope on Palomar Mountain blinks awake. Bob Thicksten, ...

Ray Westberg and the Reader

VA hospital, Camp Pendleton, MCRD, Iwo Jima, local Marines on Kuwait, San Diego bicyclist war stories, Tarawa, Morse High School, coroner's, personal Vietnam story, Army-Navy Academy

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. Westberg died ...

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 ...