Alfred M. Gray, Jr.

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Alfred M. Gray, Jr.
Alfred Gray, official military photo color.JPEG
Born (1928-06-22) June 22, 1928 (age 86)
Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, U.S.
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch  United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1950-1991
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg General
Commands held 1st Radio Battalion
1st Battalion 2nd Marines
2nd Marine Regiment
4th Marine Regiment
33d Marine Amphibious Unit
2nd Marine Division
II Marine Expeditionary Force
Marine Forces Atlantic
Commandant of the Marine Corps
Battles/wars Korean War
Vietnam War
Awards Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star
Purple Heart

Alfred M. Gray, Jr. (born June 22, 1928), is a retired United States Marine Corps general who served as the 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps from 1987-91. He retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1991 after 41 years of service.

Early life and education[edit]

Gray was born on June 22, 1928 to Emily and Alfred Mason Gray and was raised in Point Pleasant, New Jersey.

He studied at Lafayette College, and received a Bachelor of Science degree from State University of New York. He has honorary degrees from Lafayette College, Monmouth University, Norwich University, the National Defense Intelligence College, and Franklin University.[1]

He married the former Jan Goss of Burlington, Vermont on July 20, 1980.[2][3]

Career[edit]

Gray enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1950. He served overseas with Fleet Marine Force (FMF), Pacific, attaining the rank of sergeant before being commissioned a second lieutenant in April 1952. By definition, serving in the enlisted ranks prior to becoming an officer makes Gray a "mustang," which generally commands more respect in the Corps because of the combination of officer smarts and enlisted practicality. His early tours included service with 11th Marines and 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division in Korea, the 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, D.C., during which he saw service in Guantanamo Bay and Vietnam.[4]

As a Major, Gray joined the 12th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division in Vietnam in October 1965, serving concurrently as regimental communications officer, regimental training officer, and artillery aerial observer. He took command of the Composite Artillery Battalion and U.S. Free World Forces at Gio Linh in April 1967. In September 1967, Gray was reassigned to the III Marine Amphibious Force in Da Nang where he commanded the 1st Radio Battalion elements throughout I Corps until February 1968. Following a brief tour in the United States, he returned to Vietnam from June to September 1969 in conjunction with surveillance and reconnaissance matters in the I Corps area.

After his Vietnam War tour, Gray served as Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines, Battalion Landing Team 1/2; the 2nd Marine Regiment; the 4th Marine Regiment; and Camp Commander of Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan. While commanding the 33rd Marine Amphibious Unit and Regimental Landing Team-4, and concurrently serving as Deputy Commander, 9th Marines Amphibious Brigade, Gray directed the Southeast Asia evacuation operations in 1975.

Advanced to brigadier general in March 1976, General Gray served as Commanding General, Landing Force Training Command, Atlantic, and the 4th Marine Amphibious Brigade. Promoted to major general in February 1980, he assumed command of the 2nd Marine Division, FMF, Atlantic, Camp Lejueune, N.C., in June 1981. Following his promotion to lieutenant general on August 29, 1984, he was reassigned as Commanding General, FMF, Atlantic/Commanding General, II MEF, and Commanding General, FMF, Europe.

General Gray was promoted to general and became Commandant of the Marine Corps on July 1, 1987. His appointment as Commandant of the Marine Corps was recommended by Jim Webb, then Secretary of the Navy.[5]

As a reminder that the primary role of every Marine is a rifleman, he had his official photograph taken in the Camouflage Utility Uniform, the only Commandant to have done so.

In popular culture[edit]

Gray appeared as himself on the Birthday Ball episode of Major Dad, a second season episode that celebrated the 215th birthday of the Marine Corps. Appearing on 60 Minutes in the 1980s, he addressed the graduating class at the Naval Academy. He summarized the core of leadership—civilian or military, "If you come and join my Marines, I want you to know that your 'number one' job is to take care of the men and women you are privileged to lead."

Namesake[edit]

The Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia is the home of the Alfred M. Gray Research Center. The center houses the Marine Corps Archives and Special Collections, the Quantico Base Library, and the research library for the Marine Corps University, as well a conference center. Gray routinely stops by to donate his recently read books.[citation needed]

Awards and decorations[edit]

A partial list of Gray’s personal decorations and awards include, but are not limited to the Defense Distinguished Service Medal (2 awards), Navy Distinguished Service Medal (2 awards), Army Distinguished Service Medal, Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Legion of Merit (2 awards with Combat "V"), Bronze Star (4 awards with Combat "V"), Purple Heart (2 awards).

Bronze oak leaf cluster
 
Gold star
 
Joint Chiefs of Staff seal.svg
Silver Star ribbon.svg
V
Gold star
V
Gold star
Gold star
Gold star
Gold star
Meritorious Service ribbon.svg Joint Service Commendation ribbon.svg
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation ribbon.svg
Gold star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Defense Distinguished Service Medal Navy Distinguished Service Medal w/ 1 award star Army Distinguished Service Medal
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal Silver Star Legion of Merit w/ valor device & 1 award star
Bronze Star w/ valor device & 3 award stars Purple Heart w/ 1 award star Meritorious Service Medal Joint Service Commendation Medal
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal Combat Action Ribbon w/ 1 award star Presidential Unit Citation w/ 1 service star Navy Unit Commendation w/ 2 service stars
Meritorious Unit Commendation w/ 1 service star Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal National Defense Service Medal w/ 2 service stars Korea Service Medal w/ 1 service star
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal Vietnam Service Medal w/ 1 service star Sea Service Deployment Ribbon Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation
Vietnam Gallantry Cross unit citation Vietnam Civil Actions unit citation United Nations Service Medal for Korea Vietnam Campaign Medal
Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge

In 1991, he was awarded the Distinguished Sea Service Award by the Naval Order of the United States.

Post Marine Corps career[edit]

Gray serves on the Board of Directors or Board of Advisors of a number of companies, including:[1]

Memberships[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.

  1. ^ a b c d e "Profile: Alfred M. Gray, USMC". forbes.com. 2008. Archived from the original on 8 December 2008. Retrieved October 26, 2008. 
  2. ^ "Alfred M. Gray" (fee required for BRC). Marquis Who's Who. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Gale, 2008. 2008. Document Number: K2016616305. Archived from the original on 28 October 2008. Retrieved October 26, 2008. 
  3. ^ "Nomination of Lieutenant General Alfred M. Gray, Jr., To Be Commandant of the Marine Corps". Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. June 16, 1987. Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  4. ^ "General Alfred M. Gray, Jr.". Who's Who in Marine Corps History. History Division, United States Marine Corps. Retrieved 2010-12-29. 
  5. ^ Cushman, John H., Jr. (June 5, 1987). "Activist General in Line for Top Marine Post". New York Times. Retrieved March 14, 2009. 
  6. ^ "General Alfred M. Gray, (Retired USMC)". American Public University System. 2007-05-08. Archived from the original on 8 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-26. [dead link]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Gen. Paul X. Kelley
Commandant of the United States Marine Corps
1987–1991
Succeeded by
Gen. Carl E. Mundy, Jr.