A career member of the U.S. diplomatic service, Charles A. Ray currently serves as the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Zimbabwe. From 2006 to 2009, he was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Prisoners of War/Missing Personnel Affairs, responsible to advise the Secretary of Defense on all matters related to accounting for personnel missing from past wars, and for the development and implementation of a national personnel recovery policy. From 2005-2006, Ray was Diplomat in Residence at the University of Houston.
His other diplomatic assignments have included Ambassador to Cambodia; he was the first U.S. consul general in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Deputy Chief of Mission, Freetown, Sierra Leone; administrative officer, Chiang Mai, Thailand; special assistant to the Director of the State Department’s Office of Defense Trade Controls, and tours as a consular officer in Guangzhou and Shenyang, China.
Prior to joining the Foreign Service in 1982, Ray served 20 years in the U.S. Army, with tours of duty in field artillery, public affairs, Special Forces, psychological operations, and intelligence. He served in Germany, Korea and Vietnam, as well as a number of military posts in the United States.
Ray has a B.S. in business administration from Benedictine College, Atchison, Kansas; an M.S. in systems management from the University of Southern California, and an M.S. in national security strategy from the National Defense University. He is a published author having written two books on leadership and four works of fiction. He also writes social commentary and in his spare time is a contributing editor to a New York City-based Internet radio network. Ray taught photography at Los Angeles City College, and has contributed photography to a number of national and international publications. He is also an artist and was the editorial cartoonist for the Spring Lake News, a North Carolina newspaper, from 1978 to 1981.