West Side Warrior
“When I was a kid, growing up on the West Side of Manhattan, I was a member of a teenage gang called the Panthers and was always longing for a life of excitement and adventure. I think if I could go back in time and tell my young self what I’d do when I grew up, he’d be very excited.”
– Ray Boylan, Author – West Side Warrior
Dear Visitor,

Welcome to the book section of my website. For many years, various friends and relatives have encouraged me to tell something about my story, but I was specifically inspired to write this memoir by my best friend, Dan Danforth. Dan Danforth was a magnificent success as a DA Investigator and wrote a book in 1956 book about his cases, while working for the District Attorney of New York.

Later I became a DA Investigator. I watched Dan’s book unfold, in 1957 into a best a seller. Dan’s book won the Edgar Allen Poe Award. It also became a weekly TV series produced by Jack Webb and was on the air for 18 months. I cannot tell you how much I respected and admired Dan and how happy I am to have stepped in his shoes and tried out the craft of writing.

There is not one boring paragraph in this book. Included are more than 200 photos.

I have written this manuscript in the flash back mode. The opening paragraphs start with the most dangerous time in my life and that is when I was in combat against the North Korean and the Chinese Army soldiers in Korea. I was there when the Chinese invaded, a surprise attack by a more than formidable enemy.

Our first face-to-face attack came a day later on the evening of November 27th, 1950. This wasn’t an open battlefield with a steadily advancing army. It was a close range sneak attack in rugged terrain that left us nowhere to go. Light dawned the next morning, revealing the desperateness of our position. The Chinese numbers were overpowering. Their bugles and whistles sounded eerie high-pitched notes. They came by the droves in opium crazed attacks. This was one time when our firing at will was not stopped in an effort to save ammunition.… Bob ran up to me and said, “Get the hell out of here.” We ran together and jumped into a foxhole, with the bullets whizzing over our heads, bouncing off the top of our foxhole. Suddenly, a Chinese soldier stumbled into our foxhole. He stepped on me. In a fraction of a second, I fired my .45 three times at him from the bottom of my foxhole. I wasn’t sure if I hit him since he immediately pulled his leg away and seemed to continue running. Bob and I lobbed grenades all night. That night the enemy would yell “Marine – Tonight You Die”.
Gangster - Marine - Crime Fighter

Before I retired, you could say my life was divided into three types of adventures- growing up in Manhattan on the West Side; my life as a Marine including my combat in the Korean War and my life as a crime-fighter, emergency medic and security guard. My books relates:

  • Growing up on the West Side of Manhattan as a member of a youth gang called The Panthers.
  • The action I experienced when I was Marine in Korea.
  • Later, as a Crime Fighter and a Special Agent for the U.S. Treasury Department and even later as an emergency medic and head of security for a renowned New York City college in New York.

My grandparents, who came from Ireland and settled in Hells Kitchen some time in 1909, raised me from the time I was three years old. We lived in the upper West Side of Manhattan for 10 years. When I was growing up that neighborhood of was a tough area. Still, I managed to have a great childhood! I think you will be intrigued by the events in my life and get a kick out of the antics that we carried on in my neighborhood when I was growing up. What a life we had then!

  • We flew through the streets on makeshift scooters.

  • The scooters were made from wooden orange crates with a two-by-four running board and a roller skate, We headed out as far south as 72nd and north to 96th.
  • We molested fire wardens by turning the lights back on during air raids. I’m not too proud of this but it was fun at the time. Japan never got to the mainland anyway- so nobody got hurt.

Indulged in minor criminality,…

 ...  like selling newspapers to unobserving passers-by on the streets of New York, newspapers that were often more than a few weeks old/ Got them out of the basement from my friend Richey’s apartment. Things didn’t go so easy for me after I got caught.
  • Inspired by war movies, we longed to be in uniform
  • Joined youth gangs disguised as football teams. Yes, we had gang fights and caused havoc for the police and all our neighbors
  • When I was younger, we spearheaded a “dwarf” revolution against the leader of a major New York gang. The “dwarfs” were we younger members- and we didn’t like the way we were treated.

The days flew by, sometimes painful, sometimes sad—but always threaded through by the unending, relentless adventure of constant motion.

But then, events compelled me to do something really somewhat strange.


EVEN STRANGER, THE MARINES ACCEPTED ME… NOT KNOWING HOW I CLEVERLY DISGUISED MY AGE…from a little West Side ragamuffin, I became full-fledge US Marine.

Of course, I didn’t look like that in the beginning….

My book describes in detail my time in boot camp and my time training as a Marine “S.E.A.L.”, working with rubber boats, off of submarines.

I arrived at Boot Camp in Parris Island on March 6, 1948, about to lose quite a bit of my sense personal of identity- so I could undergo my transformation to a United States Marine.

Made it through Boot Camp despite the arrogant cruelty of a supremely hated and feared racist drill instructor, Corporal Gunn.”

Became a member of the amphibious elite Marine Reconnaissance Company,
precursors to the Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance and the Navy Seals of the Future

An Amphibious patrol, assisted by the crew, embarking onto a rubber boat from a submarine.

I describe the invasion of Inchon South Korea and skirmishing our way to the capital city of Seoul, South Korea. On September 27, 1950 I was wounded by a ricochet from a shot fired at me by a sniper in a cave.

I healed and returned to duty. But in October, 1950 we were deployed to North Korea, to combat against 200,000 Republic of China Troops. Their only intention was to annihilate the Marines. Our second enemy was the 30 below zero weather.

Twenty divisions of Chinese soldiers surrounded us. While attempting to reach our rear support units, the 1st Marine Division were trapped on a 14-mile narrow icy mountain road. I describe some of the hand-to-hand battles that took place as we fought through suicidal attacks by opium-crazed Chinese through dozens of roadblocks and a constant barrage of bullets from hundreds of enemy soldiers.

“Gentlemen, we are in deep manure,” Lieutenant D said to about twenty of us. “The enemy has blockaded the roads between us and our other forward units, and has seized the southern road leading to the rest of our forces in the rear. We are surrounded and will have to fight our way out. It’s cold as shit, and the terrain here is damn near impossible. Don’t wait until you see the whites of their eyes. Just shoot as soon as you see them coming.” Shivering in my foxhole some time later, I wondered whether this would be D’s final command and my final fighting day.

Some of my freezing Marine buddies in a light machine gun team wait for helicopter pick-up. It is close to impossible to fight in these sub-zero temperatures.
When I came back home to New York City I was 19 years of age. I was employed as a Criminal Investigator by; the NY State Labor Department, the NY-NJ Bi-State Waterfront Commission and the NY County District Attorney Office. In 1960 I joined the U. S. Treasury Dept., ATF Unit, as a Special Agent, detecting and raiding, illicit alcohol stills in New York City, arresting bootleggers and Federal criminals who were dealing in illicit machine guns and other weapons that was in violation of the National Firearms Act.

I did assignments with the Intelligence unit of the IRS working on Organized Crime families. I also was assigned to several Presidential Protection duties with the US Secret Service.
Besides catching bad guys, I was assigned to escort Presidential Candidates, like Hubert Humphrey seen riding with his Secret Service Agents.



“I hope you’ve enjoyed this little preview. But wait until you read the whole story. The complete book is just a click away.”  Ray Boylan
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