This image shows an American M4 Sherman tank as well as American infantrymen during Operation Cobra, the operation Gray's unit was initially a part of.

This is a map of the Allied breakout at Normandy, of which Gray's unit was involved near Caen.

Military Life

Gray enlisted on February 17, 1941 into the National Guard as a private. At the time of his death in 1944, he was ranked a Sergeant and was likely in command of a squad of nine to ten soldiers. Gray's National Guard unit was transferred to the U.K. in late 1943 to train for the upcoming Allied invasion of France. Gray was associated with the 28th divison of the 112th infantry which arrived at Normany seven weeks after the initial landings. His unit was almost immediately involved in Operation Cobra, an offensive launched by the U.S. to take advantage of German distraction by British and Canadian forces. Gray likely carried the newly designed M1 steel helmet, the M1 Garand rifle, a haversack, and a shovel for digging into positions. Operation Cobra was decisive in the collapse of German forces on the Normandy front, but Gray was killed in its conclusion. Gray was initially buried in La Cambe, a cemetery that housed German soldiers from World War I, but was eventually transferred to Saint Laurent Cemetery (later the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial), the cemetery that houses Americans that died during D-Day and the invasion of France. 28 days after his death, Gray's unit marched down the Champs Élysées in Paris, securing the liberation of France from the Nazis.

This image shows Gray's unit, the 28th Infantry Division, marching down the Champs Élysées in Paris on August 29, 1944. Gray was killed less than a month before this image was taken.

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