Ray Helstrom served in U.S. Naval Reserve

MADISON – Ray Helstrom entered the U.S. Naval Reserve in active duty in November 1951. He served until his release date in October 1953.

Helstrom completed Basic Training at Naval Station Great Lakes, which is the home of the United States Navy’s only boot camp. The facility is located in the vicinity of North Chicago, Ill. Commands that are operational from this site include Recruit Training Command, Training Support Center and Navy Recruiting District Chicago.

He was stationed at the Joint Forces Training Base, which is a joint base in Los Alamitos, Calif. This base is the site of Los Alamitos Army Airfield. Covering 1,319 acres, the base employs 850 people full time and more than 6,000 National Guard and Reserve troops.

Helstrom attended the University of California in Los Angeles, where he earned a degree in marketing. “My family is in California,” he said. His wife JoAnn passed away in 2009.

When Helstrom ended his professional career in 1993, he retired to Huntsville.

Helstrom is a member of Forever Young Senior Veterans of Alabama. Elaine Oakes visited Forever Young Senior Veterans out of Collierville, Tenn. After returning, Elaine and friend Chris Batte decided to organize an extension of that organization here.

Forever Young Senior Veterans of Alabama locates and honors veterans with students’ greeting cards, speaking opportunities, parade appearances and movie outings. Many of these veterans served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. (www.foreveryoungseniorvets.org/Alabama)

Helstrom stays involved in the community by participating in various ‘social groups,’ he said. He also likes to meet with other veterans who are ‘alumni’ of serving in Kuwait and attending sessions organized by Forever Young Senior Veterans of Alabama.

In his spare time, writing has developed into a hobby for Helstrom.

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