Raymond Murray

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For the American speed skater, see Raymond Murray (speed skater). For the Major League Baseball catcher, see Ray Murray.
Raymond LeRoy Murray
Murray RL.jpg
Born (1913-01-30)January 30, 1913
Los Angeles, California
Died November 11, 2004(2004-11-11) (aged 91)
Encinitas, California
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch Seal of the United States Marine Corps.svg United States Marine Corps
Years of service 1935–1968
Rank US-O8 insignia.svg Major General
Commands held 2nd Battalion 6th Marines
3rd Marine Regiment
5th Marine Regiment
Basic School
1st Infantry Training Regiment
Camp Pendleton
MCRD Parris Island

World War II

Korean War

Awards Navy Cross (2)
Distinguished Service Cross
Silver Star (4)
Legion of Merit
Purple Heart

Major General Raymond Leroy Murray (January 30, 1913 – November 11, 2004) was a highly decorated United States Marine Corps officer, who earned two Navy Crosses, one during World War II, and a second during the Korean War. He retired from active duty, August 1, 1968.

As a Lieutenant Colonel on Saipan during World War II, General Murray was awarded his first Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism under fire, June 15, 1944, while commanding the 2nd Battalion 6th Marines, 2nd Marine Division. During the Korean War, he was twice again cited for extraordinary heroism, earning the Army Distinguished Service Cross during the period of November 29 to December 4, 1950, and a second Navy Cross on December 6 and 7, 1950, as commander of the 5th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Reinforced).

Marine Corps career[edit]

Early years[edit]

On July 9, 1935, following graduation from Texas A&M College, he accepted his commission as a Marine Second Lieutenant.

After completing Basic School at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in March 1936, Lieutenant Murray joined the 2nd Marine Brigade in San Diego, California. Embarking with the brigade for China in September 1937, he served for a short time with the 2nd Battalion in Shanghai. In January 1938, he joined the Marine Detachment at the American Embassy in Peiping. He was promoted to First Lieutenant in August 1938. Upon his return to San Diego in September 1940, he again saw duty with the 2nd Brigade.

While there, he was promoted to Captain in March 1941. That May, Captain Murray sailed for duty in Iceland with the Marines (Reinforced), 1st Provisional Marine Brigade, and later graduated from the British Force Tactical School. After the brigade was disbanded, he returned to San Diego in April 1942, and the following month was promoted to Major.

World War II[edit]

In October 1942, Major Murray embarked with the 6th Marines for the Pacific area. For conspicuous gallantry on Guadalcanal in January 1943, as commander of the 2nd Battalion 6th Marines, he was awarded his first Silver Star. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in June 1943. Lieutenant Colonel Murray was awarded a second Silver Star Medal for conspicuous gallantry while commanding the same unit on Tarawa in November 1943. Serving in this same capacity on Saipan, his heroism in remaining at his post although seriously wounded and continuing to direct his battalion during the initial assault, earned him his first Navy Cross on June 15, 1944.

Returning to the United States in August 1944, Lieutenant Colonel Murray entered the Command and Staff School at Quantico the following month. After brief duty as an instructor, he was named Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, 1st Special Marine Brigade, moving with the brigade to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in February 1946. In October 1946, he departed for duty in the Pacific area as Deputy Chief of Staff, Headquarters Marine Garrison Forces, Pacific, and the following April was named Inspector of Marine Garrison Forces.

He returned to Quantico in July 1948 for temporary duty on the Marine Corps Board at Marine Corps Schools. Transferred to Camp Pendleton, California in January 1949, Lieutenant Colonel Murray served consecutively as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-4; as Commanding Officer, 3rd Marine Regiment; and as Executive Officer, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.

Korean War[edit]

In July 1950, when the 1st Provisional Marine Brigade was formed for duty in Korea, he was ordered overseas with the 5th Marine Regiment which was to be the nucleus for the brigade. As Commanding Officer, 5th Marines, he was awarded his third and fourth Silver Star Medal (Army) and the Legion of Merit during action in August and September 1950.

With his unit, he participated in the battles of the Naktong River perimeter, Wolmi-Inchon, Seoul, and Wonsan; and in the Marine advance north toward the Yalu River. He was subsequently awarded the Army Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism in the 1st Division's historic breakout from the Chosin Reservoir area to the sea at Hamhung, and two days later took part in the action which earned him his second Navy Cross. Shortly afterward, with his regiment committed to fighting on the Central Korean front, he was advanced to the rank of Colonel, in January 1951.

Post war years[edit]

Murray (2nd from left, front row) at the 1967 General Officers Symposium

Following his return from Korea, Colonel Murray served from May until August 1951 at Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, D. C., then entered the National War College. On completing the course in June 1952, he saw two years duty as Commanding Officer, The Basic School, Marine Corps Schools, Quantico. In July 1954, he was ordered to the Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton.

Colonel Murray remained at Camp Pendleton four years, serving first as Commanding Officer, 1st Infantry Training Regiment, until February 1955; then as Chief of Staff of the Marine Corps Base, until July 1957. During his final year there, he was assigned to the 1st Marine Division, serving as Division Inspector, Chief of Staff, and Assistant Chief of Staff, respectively. In July 1958, he assumed duties as Chief of Staff, Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune. He was promoted to Brigadier General in June 1959.

General Murray departed for Okinawa, Japan in July 1959, assuming duties as Assistant Division Commander, 3rd Marine Division, in August 1959. In July 1960, he reported to Camp Pendleton, as Deputy Base Commander, and subsequently, in March 1961, became Commanding General of the Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton. He served in the latter capacity until June 1962. On July 1, 1962, he began a two-year assignment as Commanding General, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island. While serving in this capacity, he was promoted to Major General on February 1, 1963.

Transferred to Headquarters Marine Corps in June 1964, General Murray was assigned as Inspector General of the Marine Corps. In August 1966, he assumed duties as Assistant Chief of Staff, C-3. Detached from Headquarters in September 1967, he reported to the Far East the following month and began his last tour of active duty as Deputy Commander, III Marine Amphibious Force. He returned to the United States in February 1968 and entered the U.S. Naval Hospital at Bethesda, Maryland, where he remained until he retired from active duty, August l, 1968.

Murray died in 2004. He was buried in Oceanside's Mission San Luis Rey Cemetery.

Awards and honors[edit]

Gold star
Gold star
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
1st Row Navy Cross with one award star
2nd Row Distinguished Service Cross Silver Star with one award star & 2 oak leaf clusters Legion of Merit with Combat "V" Purple Heart
3rd Row Navy Presidential Unit Citation with three service stars China Service Medal American Defense Service Medal with Base clasp American Campaign Medal
4th Row European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with four service stars World War II Victory Medal National Defense Service Medal with one service star
5th Row Korean Service Medal with four service stars Order of Military Merit, Eulji Cordon Medal Korean Presidential Unit Citation with two service stars United Nations Korea Medal

In 2007 a continuation high school was named after him as Major General Raymond Murray High School.


The citation accompanying his second Navy Cross reads in part:

"...Charged with the tremendous responsibility of taking over the perimeter defense of Hagaru-ri, and subsequently pressing the attack to Kotori in conjunction with another Marine regiment, (the then) Lieutenant Colonel Murray, with his ranks depleted by casualties and all his officers and men exhausted from several days of fierce fighting in sub-zero temperatures, launched vigorous attacks to the eastward to seize a vital enemy-held ridge and consolidate his positions.
...Affording protection for the airstrip where approximately one thousand vehicles containing division supplies, ammunition and equipment were assembled, he remained until all the wounded had been evacuated..before directing his regiment in forming a rear guard for the entire column. Throughout the night, he beat off vicious onslaughts continuously launched by the enemy and, on the following morning, carried out a brilliantly executed counterattack, taking two hundred prisoners and leaving an ineffective and decimated enemy in his wake as he continued on to his destination, arriving that evening with units intact and ready to continue the attack to the south..."

See also[edit]


  • Murray, Raymond L. (2009). Highpockets, the man, the Marine, the legend : an autobiography of Major General Raymond L. Murray (arranged, researched and written by Zona Gayle Murray). San Diego: Direct2Press.com. ISBN 978-0-578-03549-9. 


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