AL GRAY, MARINE The Early Years, 1950-1967 Vol. 1
Foreword by General Anthony Zinni, USMC (Ret)
Preface by Dr. John F. Guilmartin, Lt Col, USAF (Ret)
General Al Gray – the 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps – served in that billet from 1987 until his retirement in 1991.Through the years he became an inspiring figure for Marines of all ranks, though not much is known of his early days as an enlisted Marine and young officer. In this first of two volumes, Scott Laidig gives a detailed account of Al Gray as a young sergeant in the Amphibious Reconnaissance Platoon through his tours with the artillery, the infantry, special operations, and intelligence units through 1967.
In addition to putting together the early story of Al Gray, Marine, the author has retold the story of the Vietnam War and its time. Wanting to put Gray’s time in Vietnam, and indeed the Marine Corps’ actions in Vietnam into proper context, Laidig presents a critique of the war, its leaders and the newsmen who covered it while also providing a different perspective on the South Vietnamese. His account is well-researched and fully referenced, and might lead the reader to investigate new materials emerging about the War that claimed over 56,000 American lives.
Written in a style that promotes interest, this is no dry biography of a great warrior’s earliest days in service to our country; rather, it is a fascinating personal account of a Marine Corps legend.
Volume 2 is scheduled for 2013 release.
“Al Gray has given great service to our country, both in and out of uniform. In many different ways, his journey before assuming the responsibilities of Commandant of the Marine Corps was unique. His story serves as an inspiration to us all.”
“The Evening Parade, held at the storied Marine Barracks, Washington DC, has a sequence in it when the Color Guard presents the colors, just before the National Anthem is played. The narration that introduces the colors starts off as follows: “Ladies and gentlemen, the Color Guard before you is unique…”. After reading the first half of the two part series of “Al Gray, Marine,” perhaps a slight modification to the aforementioned introduction of the Color Guard is appropriate to present this “must read” book by Scott Laidig. It would be: “Ladies and gentlemen, the Marine before you is unique…”. Make no mistake about it, Al Gray was meant to make a lasting imprint on the Marine Corps, and he fulfilled that destiny. A thinking Marine who never lost sight of his mission, Al Gray’s legacy is still being studied and implemented today. You will enjoy this book, and you will learn! It is unique.”
All proceeds to benefit the Semper Fi Fund. Visit www.semperfifund.org for more information.