CW4 Valrey's career in aviation began at age 16 in the Army Air Forces. After three years he switched to the Army in 1949. He entered flight school as a master sergeant with 11 years of service, including combat in Korea with the all black 2nd Ranger Company. He was wounded, hospitalized in Japan and returned to duty in Korea. For service in the Korean War he received the Bronze Star Medal with Valor device, Army Commendation Medal, Purple Heart, Korean Service Medal with six Battle Stars and Arrowhead, and the Combat Infantry Badge.
After flight school he served in H-21, H-34 and H-37 companies in the U.S. and Germany. Following fixed-wing training in 1964 he was assigned to special forces, which included a stint in the Dominican Republic. He served two distinguished tours in Vietnam, totaling 32 months. He flew with the 228th of the 1st Cavalry Division, the 5th Special Forces Group and the 205th Assault Support Helicopter Company. He was also selected to fly the CG, 1st Aviation Brigade, and the deputy CG of U.S. Army, Vietnam. During his Vietnam service he was awarded four Distinguished Flying Crosses; two Bronze Star Medals; 50 Air Medals, one with Valor Device; four Army Commendation Medals; one with Valor Device; second award of the Combat Infantry Badge and the Vietnam Service Medal with nine Battle Stars.
His final assignment was in the Warrant Officer Branch, Office of Personnel Operations. For his post-Vietnam service he received three Meritorious Service Medals. He had acquired more than 10,500 flight hours, including over 2,100 combat hours, and 4,200 as instructor pilot and instrument examiner.
This truly outstanding master Army aviator and soldier was a role model during more than 30 years of service.