Gray, Richard Laird

Richard Gray entered the US Army as an appointment to West Point from Hawaii in 1959. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry fours years later. After earning his Ranger Tab and completing infantry officer basic training, his first assignment was with the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea. His first combat assignment was as a reconnaissance platoon leader for the 14th infantry, 25th Infantry Division in 1965. His second combat tour was with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in 1969, serving as the commander of Company E, 4th Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry. On 5 November 1969, Captain Gray was in command of a sweep operation on Sniper's Island, in Tam Quan District, Republic of Vietnam. At approximately 0800 hours, the lead element of the reconnaissance platoon made contact with an estimated nine to ten Viet Cong soldiers who returned a heavy volume of fire with automatic weapons and hand grenades. Realizing the gravity of the situation and despite the intense enemy fire, Captain Gray rushed forward to the leading element in contact. After arriving at the forward most element, he constantly exposed himself to enemy fire in order to direct and reorganize the lead element and to successfully execute the dust-off of two friendly casualties. As the contact continued to rage, Captain Gray again braved enemy fire by standing to direct and adjust gunship fire against the enemy. As a direct result of Captain Gray's actions displaying coolheadedness and bravery under fire, Company E was able to kill sixteen Viet Cong, capture four and seize two AK50 weapons. Captain Gary's personal bravery earned him the Bronze Star Medal with "V" Device for heroism. LTC Richard Gray was medically retired from the US Army in 1981.