ALFRED M. GRAY, JR., USMC (RETIRED)
General Alfred M. Gray, Jr., 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps, was born 22 June 1928 and hails from Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1950 and served overseas with the Amphibious Reconnaissance Platoon, Fleet Marine Force (FMF), Pacific, attaining the rank of sergeant. He was commissioned a second lieutenant on 9 April 1952.
After attending The Basic School, at Quantico, Virginia, and the Field Artillery School, Fort Sill, Oklahoma, he joined the 1st Marine Division in Korea. He served a tour as an artillery officer with the 2d Battalion, 11th Marines, and a subsequent tour as an infantry officer with the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines. In October 1953, he was promoted to first lieutenant.
Returning to the United States in December 1954, Lt Gray was assigned to the 8th Marines, 2d Marine Division, at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, until August 1955, when he attended the Communications Officer School, Quantico. He was promoted to captain in July 1955. From April 1956 until May 1961, Capt Gray served overseas in special command billets.
In May 1961, he was assigned to Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC), Washington, D.C., for duty as special operations and plans officer, G-2 Division. During his tour he saw service in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and in Vietnam. He was promoted to major in February 1963.
Major Gray joined the 12th Marines, 3d Marine Division, in Vietnam in October 1965, serving concurrently as Regimental Communications Officer; Regimental S-3 Officer and Artillery Aerial Observer. In April 1967, he was assigned command of the Composite Artillery Battalion and the U.S. Free World Forces at Gio Linh. In September 1967, he was reassigned to the III Marine Amphibious Force in DaNang, where he commanded the 1st Radio Battalion elements throughout I Corps. He was promoted to lieutenant colonel in October 1967.
In February 1968, he returned to Washington, D.C., for duty with the Defense Special Projects Group as Chief, Intelligence and Operations Division.
He was reassigned to the Marine Corps Development and Education Command at Quantico, in November 1968, and was tasked with the development of interim doctrine for employment of sensor technology in the Marine Corps. During the period of June-September 1969, LtCol Gray returned to Vietnam in conjunction with surveillance and reconnaissance matters in the I Corps Area.
Upon his return to Quantico, he was assigned duty as Chief, Intelligence and Reconnaissance Division, at the Development Center, until August 1970. He attended the Command and Staff College and upon completing the course in June 1971, was transferred to the 2d Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, where he assumed command of the 1st Battalion, 2d Marines, and Battalion Landing Team (BLT) 1/2. The BLT was deployed to the Mediterranean in September 1971, as part of the 34th Marine Amphibious Unit, and returned to the U.S. in March 1972. LtCol Gray commanded the 2d Marines from April through December 1972, when he was reassigned as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3, 2d Marine Division. He was promoted to colonel in August 1972.
Colonel Gray attended the Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, from August 1973 to June 1974, and upon graduation, was assigned to the 3d Marine Division on Okinawa, as Commanding Officer, 4th Marines and Camp Commander, Camp Hansen. He later served as CO, 33d MAU/CO, RLT-4/DepCdr, 9th MAB, during the Southeast Asia evacuation operations.
Reassigned to HQMC in August 1975, he was assigned duty as Deputy Director, Training and Education Division, Manpower Department. He was advanced to brigadier general on 24 March 1976, and presided over a special group on the Marine Corps Reserve until 11 June 1976, when he was assigned duties as Commanding General, Landing Force Training Command, Atlantic, and Commanding General, 4th Marine Amphibious Brigade. He served as the Deputy for Development/Director, Development Center, Marine Corps Development and Education Command, Quantico, from October 1978 to May 1981. While serving in this capacity, he was selected in January 1980 for promotion to major general. He was promoted to that grade in February 1980, with a date rank of 1 April 1976.
On 4 June 1981, MajGen Gray was assigned duty as the Commanding General, 2d Marine Division, FMF, Atlantic, Camp Lejeune. Following his promotion to lieutenant general on 29 August 1984, he assumed duties as Commanding General, FMF, Atlantic/Commanding General, II MAF and Commanding General, FMF, Europe. General Gray was promoted to the rank of general and assumed the office of Commandant of the Marine Corps on 1 July 1987.
General Gray retired on 30 June 1991 and resides in the Northern Virginia area.
General Gray’s personal decorations and awards include: the Distinguished Service Medal; the Silver Star Medal; the Legion of Merit with Combat “V” and a gold star in lieu of a second award; the Bronze Star Medal with Combat “V” and three gold stars in lieu of second, third and fourth awards; the Purple Heart with a gold star in lieu of a second Purple Heart; the Meritorious Service Medal; the Joint Service Commendation Medal; the Navy Commendation Medal; and the Combat Action Ribbon with a gold star in lieu of a second award.
Commandants of the Marine Corps