First African-American chief of Signal dies
November 29, 2011
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Nov. 29, 2011) -- Retired Lt. Gen. Robert E. Gray, the first African-American commander of Fort Gordon, Ga., and chief of the U.S. Army Signal Corps, died Nov. 23 in an automobile accident near Millen, Ga.
Gray commanded Fort Gordon from May to July 1990 and August 1991 to July 1994. He was the 27th chief of Signal and retired from the Army in 1997 with more than 31 years of service.
Gray was reportedly driving a pickup truck on the Georgia Highway 23 bypass just before 6:30 a.m. Wednesday when his vehicle collided with an 18-wheel diesel tanker.
"The Signal Regiment, which was so very dear to him, is in mourning," wrote Maj. Gen. Alan Lynn, current chief of Signal, in a message to the field.
After retirement, Gray continued to play an active role as a mentor to officers and supporters of the Signal Regiment, according to Lynn. He said Gray made many lasting impacts on the regiment.
"Among his many accomplishments that serve us even today was the creation of the first
Battle Command Battle Lab to help the Army better use commercial-off-the-shelf technology and speed the Army's procurement process," Lynn said. He listed Gray's other career highlights as:
- First African-American deputy chief of Signal
- First African-American commander of the 35th Signal Brigade at Fort Bragg, N.C.
- Deputy commander of U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army
- Deputy director for plans, programs and systems, Office of the Secretary of the Army, during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.