Captain Greg Smith introducing General Alfred M. Gray, 29th Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps as the dinner speaker at the 2004 Reunion of the 2nd Battion (175mm Guns) 94th Artillery, U.S. Army at Washington, DC September, 2004. General Gray's remarks to follow as Part 2.
General Gray who, as biographer Scott Laidig's recently titled book suggests, preferred to be known as Al Gray, Marine, was a Major and the S-3 of the 12th Marine Regiment on the DMZ in 1966 when he wrote the request to General Westmoreland that the Army's 2nd battalion, 94th Artillery be re-routed as we sailed across the Pacific on the USS Eltinge. As a result, our battalion of 175mm guns landed at Da Nang and instead of Saigon and headed north where we were operationally attached to and fought with the 3rd Marine Division. The Marines were being out-gunned on the DMZ by Russian-made artillery with a longer range than anything the Marines had and our 175 guns, with the longest range (20 miles) of any artillery weapons in the world, changed all that.
Al Gray went from private to four-star general and was one of those legendary American military heroes who would lead from in front: a pure warrior. All of us were changed forever for having fought with him.
"There are higher things in life than the soft and easy enjoyment of material comfort. It is through strife, or the readiness for strife, that a nation must win greatness.. .A rich nation which is slothful, timid, or unwieldy is an easy prey for any people which still retain those most valuable of qualities, the martial virtues." -- Theodore Roosevelt
"Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war." -- Otto von Bismarck