- Customer Care
THE JOURNEY OF A WARRIOR: The Twenty-Ninth Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps (1987-1991): General Alfred Mason Gray
To read Colonel Gerry Turley’s book, “The Journey of a Warrior: The Twenty-Ninth Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps (1987-1991): General Alfred Mason Gray,” is to understand how the 21st-century Marine Corps came into being. The picture that the author paints is of one man’s journey, a man who rose from the lowest position in the Marine Corps—recruit—to the highest—Commandant—and along the way became one of the most transformational officers in the Marine Corps since John A. Lejeune.
Today’s Marines, most of whom may take the existence of our Corps for granted, must understand that our relevance as a part of America’s national strategy depends on our continual evolution. If we do not anticipate and fill America’s need for a force in readiness, then America does not need a Marine Corps. Col Turley’s biography of Gen Gray shows us a Marine who foresaw needs and promoted innovation during every step of his career. We can all learn from our 29th Commandant. His accomplishments should be taught to all Marines as part of their history, serving as examples of how Marines must think and act.
A short list of innovations he fathered follows: He re-established the policy of infantry training for all Marines. He carried it well beyond our “every Marine a rifleman” ethos, believing that all Marines, regardless of occupational specialty, should be qualified to serve in a rifle squad. He conferred on every Marine the title “warrior” and further strengthened the bonds of our brotherhood.
He promoted continuous learning for all ranks. The Commandant’s Reading List, the Marine Corps University and educating Marines with other service schools, foreign armed forces and such agencies as the FBI were all due to his foresight.
He insisted that the Marine Corps no longer be a closed shop, relying on its own assets and ignoring outside opportunities at other service schools and civilian agencies and high-level billets on joint staffs. This wove the Marine Corps into the fabric of our national strategy at the highest level. For the first time in our history, Marines have served in America’s top-level command and staff billets, e.g., as commanders of U.S. Central Command, Southern Command, Strategic Command and as the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As of this writing, the senior enlisted advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is a Marine sergeant major.
General Gray also was instrumental in shaping our operational posture to meet the challenges posed by terrorist states and asymmetrical warfare.
He modernized our traditional role of projecting power against armed enemies from the sea. To this end he pushed development of the MV-22 Osprey aircraft in order to support combat operations on the world’s littorals from over-the-horizon amphibious forces. He was an early advocate of the maritime prepositioning ships and was a major force in redesigning our amphibious fleet to meet today’s requirements.
He upgraded the Corps’ armor capability and formed the light armored reconnaissance units.
He transformed our intelligence assets so they all reported to a central collection point for coordination and dissemination.
Col Turley punctuates his story of Gen Gray’s life with colorful anecdotes that illustrate his character and his affection for Marines of every rank. He bonded with the troops like few commanders have before or since. He seemed to be everywhere at once and, even after he became Commandant, refused to stick to a pre-arranged schedule.
One of the best episodes in the book is about how he, when Commandant, drove his own car through the main gate of Quantico. The sentries on the gate quickly informed the commanding general the CMC was on board, but that they didn’t know where he was going. During an exhaustive search of the base, someone finally spotted him on a softball field. He had been driving by, saw the game, stopped and borrowed a glove, and played shortstop for a while as the frantic search for him rippled through the base. He was never happier than when he was with his troops, and the Marines loved him for it.
There are many important issues regarding our 29th Commandant’s life and the changes that he wrought that space will not permit me to cover. Suffice it to say that because of Gen Gray’s wisdom, foresight and energy, our Corps is very well prepared for its journey through the 21st century. Thank you, Col Turley, for telling his story.
THE JOURNEY OF A WARRIOR: The Twenty-Ninth Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps (1987-1991): General Alfred Mason Gray.
By Colonel Gerald H. Turley, USMCR (Ret).
Published by iUniverse. 528 pages. Softcover.
$28.76 MCA Members. $31.95 Regular Price.
Subscriptions to Leatherneck Magazine are a benefit of being a Marine Corps Association & Foundation member. You’ll receive Leatherneck Magazine in print, have access to a number of other benefits and be supporting Marines. Membership begins at $35.00 annually. Join now.
MCA: 100 Years of Service
The Marine Corps Association & Foundation remembers the past and honors the present. Review the first one hundred years of MCA via historical photos and film clips of the organization that serves the men and women of the Marine Corps. Click here to watch the video.
- Book Signing with Colonel Gerald Turley, USMC (Ret) (MCAF Event)
- Gazette November 2012 Issue (Issue)
- THE JOURNEY OF A WARRIOR: The Twenty-Ninth Commandant of the US Marine Corps (1987–1991): General Alfred Mason Gray (Book Review)
- Weekend Extra - December 1, 2012 (Magazine Page)
- NOBLE WARRIOR: The Story of Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston, USMC (Ret.), Medal of Honor (Book Review)
Today in USMC History
1803 - Marines participated in the raid on Tripoli.
1906 - Maj John A. Lejeune embarked his battalion for duty in Panama.
Related Article: The History of the Mameluke Sword of the United States Marine Corps By James E. McDougall Marine Corps Gazette (Nov 2003)
Historic Leatherneck Magazine Covers
Leatherneck Staff Artist, Technical Sergeant Robert Fleischauer, felt that our July cover should be commemorative of the Fourth of July. Since the members of the missile units are probably the Corps' best rocketeers, he picked them to perform a standard Fourth of July action. Whether or not the "Honest Johnny" is useful as a combat piece is a matter for debate, but you can't beat it for morale." [July 1957.]
“The Join Up on the Nick” by Major Alex Durr, USMCR, a member of the History Division, Marine Corps University, Quantico, Va.
Hospitalman Daniel T. Bobic, assigned to Headquarters and Service Company, 3d Battalion, Second Marine Regiment, rappelled at the Jungle Warfare Training Center in Okinawa, Japan, in late April, 2002.
The oldest post of the Marine Corps, Washington, DC, is celebrating 200 years of excellence. Posed near the Barracks main gate were members of the official Color Guard of the United States Marine Corps (left to right): LCpl Joseph N. Keough, rifleman; Sgt Blake L. Richardson, Color Sergeant of the Marine Corps; Cpl Gerardo A. Guajardo, organizational color bearer; and LCpl Gregory A. Serwo, rifleman.
GySgt Verlando Frazier, East Coast Food Service Management Team, looked ready to dig into some of the new items included in MREs.
This photo by Sgt Earnie Grafton of Marines from Fox Co., 2/4 shows varied emotions as they greeted the coalition forces outside Kuwait city.
A fleet of trucks was needed to transport Dr. Felix de Weldon’s original model of the Iwo Jima flag-raising statue from the sculptor’s home in Newport, R.I., to the grounds of the Marine Military Academy at Harlingen, Texas. After the statue’s arrival, a nearly around-the-clock effort by skilled workmen was required in order to have the memorial reassembled and ready for dedication ceremonies on April 16, 1982.
In April this year (1981), two squadrons of AV-8A “Harriers” sailed for the Mediterranean aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Nassau. Purpose of the cruise was to demonstrate the Navy/Marine Corps team’s capability to augment naval forces in any area of the World on short notice and to provide at-sea training for Marine Harrier pilots.
The cover of Leatherneck’s Bicentennial issue is an oil painting by the late Colonel Donald L. Dickson, USMCR. The painting depicts General George Washington’s Colonial troops at Gadsby’s Tavern in Alexandria, Va., during the French and Indian War.
Sightseeing tours for the men of the Marine Barracks, San Juan, Puerto Rico, include a trip to the El Morro Fortress. San Juan is now retired as a Post of the Corps.
The Marines in Vietnam have found that the programs which work best are those which operate close to the people. Our July cover is a mixed media (acrylic and charcoal) by Art Editor James L. Hopewell. It catches the spirit of Marines who enjoy their relationship with the Vietnamese around them.
In Naples, Italy, Marines are responsible for the internal security of the Headquarters of NATO’s Southern European Command, while the elite Carabinieri Corpa provides external security. PFC Robert M. Mallard’s NATO shield was admired by a Carabiniere as the two men prepared to take up their side-by-side posts at the entrance of the imposing NATO Headquarters, which appears in the background of this cover.
"We've Fought In Every Clime And Place": Stamping out the Caco Insurrection in the Republic d' Haiti.
January 2002: The Marines engraved another mark in the rich history of the Corps when they came from more than 400 miles offshore to establish a forward operating base south of Kandahar in the war on terrorism. The Marine CH-46 helicopter on the cover, photographed by PH1(AW/SW) Greg Messier, USN, fought in the desert sand to land and resupply Marines such as the ones (inset) photographed by Sgt Joseph R. Chenelly.
January 2001: This firefight during the Frozen Chosin Reservoir Campaign of 1950 was painted by “Chosin Few” veteran Jack Cannon, who served with Company B, 1st Battalion, Seventh Marine Regiment and resides in the warmer climes of New Mexico. The cover was part of Leatherneck’s 50th anniversary salute to the Korean War veterans.
January 1992: This cover photograph of runners during Marine Corps Marathon XVI in Washington, D.C., was photographed by Sgt Deirdre Hallett.
January 1991: This month’s cover by Ross Simpson captures the Marines’ waiting-but-ready posture in the Middle East.
January 1982: Participants in the Sixth Annual Marine Corps Marathon presented a colorful spectacle as they began the 26-mile, 385-yard run in Washington, D.C., November 1, 1981. The cover photo, by Tom Bartlett, was taken from a bridge overlooking Highway 50 about a half-mile from the starting line.
January 1981: Nearly 7,800 runners participated in the Fifth Annual Marine Corps Marathon held in northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. The oldest finisher was 78; the youngest was 10. Leatherneck staffer Ron Lunn pre-positioned himself near the Nation’s Capitol to photograph runners during their 14th mile of the 26-mile, 385-yard course.
January 1972: This month’s cover, by Marine Combat Artist Peter Gish, shows members of the New Corps sightseeing in the Old World. While on liberty in Athens, Greece, the 3d Bn, Eighth Marines, were able to tour the Erektheon Porch and Cariatides. The water color is from the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Art collection.
Originally Published December 1983 -- Something tells us that we could date the cover without knowing when it was published.
Originally Published December 1972 -- We're not sure what's more interesting, Santa or the old style gas pump.
Subscribe to Our Newsletter
This November 1992 article in the Marine Corps Gazette looked at the uniform regulations of 1859 and the attempt to standardize uniforms within the Corps. Read the story and see more pics.
|I was also on that hill that night.||3 hours 18 min ago|
|freedom is not free||1 day 5 hours ago|
|true American Hero||1 day 6 hours ago|
|recruiting verterans||1 day 15 hours ago|
|You should read the article||2 days 1 hour ago|
|Marines!||2 days 7 hours ago|
|Suicide||2 days 8 hours ago|
|This is a very helpful website...||2 days 9 hours ago|