Army Suspends Former 1st Special Forces Group CO after Arrest on Domestic Violence Charges

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Col. Owen G. Ray
Col. Owen G. Ray, outgoing commander, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), stands at attention during the 1st SFG (A) change of command ceremony July 9, 2020, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. (U.S. Army/Pfc. Gaozong Lee)

The U.S. Army has suspended an I Corps colonel at Joint Base Lewis McCord, Washington after he was arrested early Sunday morning and charged with allegedly making death threats and committing assault related to domestic violence.

Army Col. Owen G. Ray -- the former commander of 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) -- has been suspended from his current job as I Corps chief of staff while a civilian law enforcement investigation into the case continues, I Corps spokesman Lt. Col. Neil Penttila told Military.com.

Ray is being held in the Pierce County Jail in Tacoma, Washington, according to the Pierce County Jail's website.

Ray was booked by Pierce County Corrections at 3:45 a.m. Sunday on charges of felony harassment threats/domestic violence or death threats, and first-degree assault, which is also a felony, according to the website. Ray was also charged with unlawful imprisonment, a felony, and malicious mischief 3rd degree/domestic violence, a misdemeanor charge, according to the jail.

Radio.com first reported this story.

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I Corps confirmed Ray's arrest and released a statement on the case.

"We are monitoring the allegations of domestic assault and felony harassment against Col. Owen Ray," Penttila said in the statement.

"We have been in contact with local law enforcement, who have informed us that the investigation is still on-going. While the investigation continues, we will work closely with the family and the officer to provide support services including counseling, behavior health support, and legal assistance. The safety of everyone involved is the command's priority."

Before assuming the I Corps chief of staff position, Ray commanded the 1st Special Forces Group and held other leadership positions in the Green Beret unit. He served as a detachment commander in 2003 and as a company commander in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2011, according to a previous Army news release.

In 2013, Ray commanded 4th Battalion, 1st SFG as part of the special operations joint task force, according to the release.

-- Matthew Cox can be reached at matthew.cox@military.com.

Related: Special Forces Sgt. 1st Class Suspect in Illinois Mass Shooting

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