- Rank29th Commandant of the Marine Corps
- Battles WarsKorean War, Vietnam War
- AwardsDistinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Purple Heart
- Loanable ObjectUniform
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.
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.[/su_column][/su_row]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.
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.
Awards & Decorations
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).