In early 1991 B.D.'s battle buddy Ray suffered a leg injury when their Humvee was hit by an artillery shell during the first days of combat in Gulf War I. Hightower survived his wounds and the overbearing attention of hospital ship Morale Officer Trip Trippler (Benjy Doonesbury's college roommate), enough to be reassigned to Camp Quagmire, a refuge for Kurds fleeing Saddam's troops in northern Iraq. There Ray gave tours to visitors like Congresswoman Lacey Davenport.
Ray and B.D. remained fast friends during post-war life in SoCal, both dealing with sundered relationships. Abandoned by his wife for a Navy SEAL, Ray lived for a time with his long-suffering mother, then embarked on a Thelma and Louise adventure to raise hell with B.D. As riots broke out in the wake of the Rodney King verdict, the duo were called back up to active duty, and served side by side defending Fredericks of Hollywood. They then served together as CHIPs, and a fortuitous pullover by Ray led to a relationship with May, and her difficult would-be gangbanger Des.
Re-deploying together for Operation Iraqi Freedom Ray racked up numerous grueling employments, and was blown up 19 times, a fact which, when noticed by Higher, earned him a permanent ticket home. Suffering from PTSD he ended up living in the VA Center waiting room, and B.D.'s living room. Thanks to counselor Elias, and buds like B.D., he is finding his way.